The level of confidence in the economy by both businesses and consumers continued to rise in the fourth quarter of 2018.
The consumer confidence index was 175.5 points compared to the 172.6 points in the third quarter, while the business confidence index increased to 147 points.
This was disclosed at a press conference held on January 22 at the Jamaica Chamber of Conference (JCC) Secretariat, at 58 Half-Way Tree Road, Kingston.
The survey of consumer confidence and the survey of business confidence were undertaken by Market Research Services on behalf of the JCC.
Managing Director of Market Research Services, Don Anderson, said at the heart of the uptick is consumers’ anticipation of more jobs being created or more jobs being taken up by family members.
“The construction sector is, in fact, doing very well… and, therefore, whether the jobs are temporary or not is not so critically important, it is that people who were not normally employed are now gaining employment on construction sites across the country. They are also thinking of new jobs being created by the expansion in the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector,” he said.
The data also showed that approximately one in every four firms has eyes set on increasing sales, and, ultimately, profit in 2019.
“They intend to achieve this overall growth by increasing their customer base, improving the quality of their customer service, and seek to remain relevant in the marketplace,” the survey said.
The survey also showed that more than 70 per cent of the firms continued to agree that the time is right for expansion.
In addition, the survey noted that of all the firms surveyed, 55 per cent reported having solid plans to increase the level of capital investment in their firms over the next 12 months.
It was also noted that 71 per cent of firms anticipate improvements in profitability, while 79 per cent are looking for gains in the year ahead.