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U.S. consumer confidence increased in Q1

Staff writer |
U.S. consumer confidence increased one index point in the first quarter to a score of 107, maintaining an above-the-baseline optimism level for a year now.

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Conversely, confidence declined in Canada six points to 96, which is the country’s lowest score since 2012.

In the U.S., the only confidence indicator that increased in the first quarter was job prospects, rising five percentage points to 55%, while personal finance sentiment and immediate spending intentions declined two percentage points each to 62% and 50%, respectively, from fourth-quarter 2014.

Recessionary sentiment reached a new low of 50%, down from 53% the previous quarter and 63% six months ago.

“In the U.S., optimism continued to move forward in the first quarter, likely influenced by the addition of nearly 600,000 new jobs and low gasoline prices, which put more money in consumers’ wallets,” said James Russo, senior vice president, Nielsen Global Consumer Insights.

“Consumer spending picked up in the first quarter, with fast-moving consumer goods sales rising 2.5%, compared to an annual increase of only 1.4% during 2014.

"While 2015 is off to a good start, half of Americans are still in a recessionary mindset, and nearly 35% say they live paycheck to paycheck. As this undercurrent of uncertainty still permeates, consumers continue to think carefully about how and where they spend their money.”