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Published: 27 March 2006

Consumer views on unemployment pessimistic

Consumers' confidence in the economy weakened in March. The consumer confidence indicator stood at 12.6 in March, while in February it was 17.0 and one year ago 16.4. The consumer confidence indicator was at the same time slightly under its long-term average. The data are based on Statistics Finland's Consumer Survey for which 1,567 persons resident in Finland were interviewed between 1 and 17 March.

Of the four components of the confidence indicator expectations concerning Finland's economy and especially the development of unemployment weakened clearly in March compared with the previous month. In contrast, consumer views on their own economy and saving possibilities remained unchanged and optimistic.

Consumer views on the economic and financial conditions in Finland in March 2006

  March 2006 balance figure February 2006 balance figure March 2005 balance figure Average 10/95-3/06
Consumer confidence indicator (CCI) 12.6 17.0 16.4 13.5
CCI components:        
Own economic situation in 12 months' time 11.3 12.5 12.0 9.2
Household's saving possibilities in the next 12 months 50.9 48.1 46.2 32.5
General economic situation in Finland in 12 months' time -0.1 5.6 8.9 6.9
Unemployment in Finland in 12 months' time -11.8 1.8 -1.8 5.5
Inflation in 12 months' time, % 2.2 2.1 2.1 1.9
Personal threat of unemployment at present 3.7 4.3 2.7 ..
Financial situation of household at present 32.1 34.7 31.3 25.0
Favourable time to make major purchases at present 24.7 24.9 26.6 20.8
Favourable time to save at present 18.1 17.9 14.2 5.9
Favourable time to raise a loan at present 23.9 27.1 35.7 23.1
The balance figures are obtained by deducting the weighted proportion of negative answers from that of positive answers. The consumer confidence indicator is the average of the balance figures for four questions concerning the next 12 months: own and Finland's economy, unemployment and household's saving possibilities. The balance figures and the confidence indicator can range between -100 and 100. A positive balance figure denotes an optimistic and a negative balance figure a pessimistic view on the economy.

In March, 24 per cent of consumers believed that Finland's economic situation would improve in the coming twelve months. Twenty-three per cent of consumers thought that the country's economy would deteriorate. The corresponding proportions were 28 and 16 per cent in February and 33 and 15 per cent in last year's March. In all, 30 per cent of consumers believed in March that their own economy would improve and only 11 per cent of them feared it would worsen over the year.

Altogether 44 per cent of consumers thought in March that unemployment would increase over the year, and 26 per cent of them believed it would decrease. The corresponding proportions were 31 and 36 per cent in February and 32 and 30 per cent one year ago. However, only 13 per cent of employed persons reckoned in March that their personal threat of unemployment had grown over the past few months and more of them, i.e. 16 per cent thought it had lessened.

Consumers predicted in March that consumer prices would go up by 2.2 per cent over the next 12 months.

In March 69 per cent of consumers thought the time was good for raising a loan. One year ago this proportion was 77 per cent. Sixteen per cent of households were planning to take out a loan in the next 12 months. Saving was considered worthwhile by 64 per cent of consumers in March. Of households 65 per cent had been able to lay aside some money and as many as 81 per cent believed they would be able to do so during the next 12 months.

In March, 46 per cent of consumers thought the time was favourable for buying durable goods. Households still had plenty of spending intentions on entertainment electronics and purchasing of leisure equipment and vehicles. In the next 12 months 17 per cent of households were either fairly or very certain to buy a car and 7 per cent a dwelling. Intentions to buy a dwelling had fallen somewhat from the previous months.

Consumer confidence indicator 10/1995-3/2006

Consumers' expectations concerning their own and Finland's economy in 12 months' time 10/1995-3/2006

Consumer confidence indicator in EU Member States, February 2006
Deviation of indicator from country average 10/1995-2/2006*

*Calculated from seasonally adjusted series. Data for France are indicative due to break in time series.
Averages for a shorter time period: Malta 11/2002 -, Luxembourg 1/2002 -, Cyprus, Lithuania and Poland 1/2001 -, Slovakia 4/1999 -.
Source: European Commission, DG ECFIN, Business and Consumer Survey Results, February 2006.

Source: Consumer Survey 2006, March. Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Mr Pertti Kangassalo +358 9 1734 3598,

Director in charge: Mr Ari Tyrkkö


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Last updated 27.3.2006

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Consumer Confidence [e-publication].
ISSN=2669-8889. March 2006. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 23.4.2024].
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