FOR the last few months I have reported positive signs emanating from YouGov’s economic confidence data, and I am delighted to report the August stats show the good news continuing.
The Consumer Confidence Index (derived from consumers’ perception of their personal financial situation, job security, house prices and activity at their place of work) has grown to its highest level since we started collecting information in 2009.
The index’s average score from 2009 to the present is 97 – the level it bounced along at throughout last year. It now stands at 107, its highest level ever. With month-on-month improvement throughout 2013, it is also the longest period of sustained momentum on record, and the first time we have had improvement for eight consecutive months.
One of the key indicators in the Consumer Confidence Index is job security, and it is interesting to note how the two scores shadow each other. Over the past month, job security has also reached its highest level since we started collecting data, although its scores are lower than the overall index.
Looking at the chart we see that the index and job security had similar scores in spring 2009, but that when consumer confidence grew rapidly for the rest of that year, job security only edged up slowly and a gap emerged. Since then, the gap has been maintained at a constant level until earlier this year. Once again, though we see a sustained boost in consumer confidence, job security is not climbing at the same rate. So although job security is a crucial driver of consumer confidence, its biggest role is the impact on other measures – so when it goes up, those other measures make confidence increase even faster. Even still, the big story is that consumer confidence carries on growing and the positive economic signs continue.
Stephan Shakespeare is the chief executive of YouGov