Firms Optimistic about Growth and Investment

Business confidence in the economy remains high, with firms indicating optimism about the prospects for growth and a belief that this is a good time to invest in the economy.

“This is as a result of the renewed confidence in the economy and the way things are moving within the country,” said Market Research Analyst, Don Anderson.

He was giving a summary of the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce (JCC) Conference Board’s Business and Consumer Indices for the third quarter of 2016 at Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston on October 11.

He said that despite a slight dip in the indices, optimism among businesses and consumers remains at a higher level this year than over the last 15 years.

Mr. Anderson said firms have maintained their optimism that the new Government programmes will establish renewed economic growth, which will result in increased profits.

They have indicated a willingness to invest in new plants and equipment and expand their production capacity.

The business confidence index stood at 139.2 per cent in the third quarter, which is 26 per cent higher than the 110.6 per cent recorded for the similar period in 2015.

The figure is, however, slightly below the 141.6 per cent and 144.6 per cent recorded in the prior two quarters of 2016.

Meanwhile, the consumer confidence was recorded at 151.6 per cent in the third quarter, which was a slight decline over the 155.6 per cent for the second quarter, but an increase over the 147.9 per cent for the first quarter of the year.

Mr. Anderson pointed out that consumers expect that growth will continue and job gains and purchase plans will improve.

Further data indicate that, already, these elements are trending in the right direction with home-buying plans up 16 per cent from the previous year’s eight per cent and the second highest ever recorded over the past 15 years.

Vehicle buying intentions were expressed by 22 per cent up from last year’s 15 per cent, the highest level in five years.

Mr. Anderson suggested that at least 70 per cent of all Jamaicans expect an overall improved living standard.

Consumers are also expecting that more jobs will become available, and there will be improvements to their job and income.

Some 600 persons, 18 years and older from various socio-economic backgrounds across the island were sampled for the study.

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