Strong labour market triggers rise in consumer confidence
Consumer confidence in Northern Ireland increased in the first quarter of 2019 mainly due to the strong performance of the labour market.
The Danske Bank Northern Ireland Consumer Confidence Index rose to 139 in Q1 2019, up from 127 in the fourth quarter of last year but below the 142 registered in the first quarter of 2018.
Twenty-eight per cent of respondents said that rising wages was the factor that had the largest positive impact on their confidence levels. In addition, the part of our index that looks at how people feel about their job security posted its highest reading since the survey began more than a decade ago.
Despite the rise in confidence, consumers still had concerns. 28 per cent of people said that the local political impasse had the largest negative impact on how they were feeling. A further 22 per cent of people pointed to the lack of progress in the Brexit negotiations in recent months as the issue having the biggest adverse impact on them, up from 17 per cent in the final quarter of 2018. And even though inflation is now just below the Bank of England’s target, rising prices were still a cause of concern for consumers. 21 per cent of people surveyed said the impact of higher prices on their household finances was negatively impacting how they were feeling.