A RED C poll of 1,000 people has found that while we remain cautious about our finances, confidence in the economy is slowly improving.
More than 20% expect the economy to improve in the next six months, 1% to get much better and 21% to get slightly better. Only 17% expect it to get much worse and 35% to get slightly worse.
A year ago, 54% expected it to get much worse, 29% to get slightly worse and only 9% expected it to get much or slightly better.
Confidence in the Irish economy appears to vary according to age, gender and even country of origin.
The poll found that 49% of men and 47% of women think the economy will stay as it is or improve. However, when the figures are broken down by age it shows the elderly and young people appear much more optimistic than the rest of the adults surveyed. The survey found 53% of 18 to 34-year-olds and 51% of over 65s believe the economy will either hold steady or improve. That compared with 45% of 35 to 44-year-olds and just 42% of 45-64-year-olds. While just 46% of Irish people think the economy will improve or remain the same, 57% of non-Irish nationals take the optimistic view.
The survey found 58% of us believe the global situation will improve over the next six months. Only 23% believe it will get slightly or much worse.
Back at home, there remains a lot of concerns over job security in Ireland, with 60% convinced the safety of employment will be slightly or much worse over the next six months. That compared with just 13% who thought the situation would be slightly or much better.
People’s confidence in the housing market remains low with just 17% saying they believe it will be much or slightly better and 48% saying it will be much or slightly worse.
All but 16% of those surveyed believe they will be impacted by the effects of the recession, with 31% expecting to be heavily impacted.
The poll found 80% of people said the recession was impacting on their monthly spend and 77% said it was having an effect on their way of life.
While 18% said they had not reduced their spending, 36% of those who said they had blamed it on a lower household income, 26% on concerns about the future and 20% on lower prices and cost of living.
Red C found that women and those aged between 45 and 64 are more likely to have decreased their spending due to lower income suggesting that men and those in the oldest and youngest age groups are most likely to start spending again first.
Overall 64% of the respondents said they were not likely to increase their spending in the next six months on entertainment and socialising, 67% said they would not increase spending on groceries in that timeframe, and 64% said they would not increase spending on holidays.
“Higher consumer confidence in a year suggests that consumers feel that we are on the way to recovery,” said the authors of the report.
“But consumers are reluctant to increase spend until they feel the recovery is permanent. It is crucial that the high consumer optimism is enforced rather than reversed by policy makers. This could ultimately drive Ireland out of recession.”
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