Fri, Dec 31, 2004 - Page 11 News List

CCI benefits from lower jobless rate

SENTIMENT This month's Consumer Confidence Index was just slightly lower than last month's, bolstered by optimism about hiring opportunities

By Jackie Lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

Consumer sentiment this month did not show any marked fluctuations as the public continued to express confidence about the nation's job outlook while worrying about household finances, according to a monthly survey releas-ed by National Central University yesterday.

This month's Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) stood at 77.13 points, a slight drop from last month's 77.42 points, when the index climbed to its highest level since May this year.

The index gauges the public's expectations on stock performance, household finances, durable goods, job opportunities, consumer price fluctuations and the domestic economic outlook for the next six months.

Consumer sentiment on employment opportunities showed the biggest gains among the six indicators, reflecting the government's announcement that the nation's unemployment rate last month fell to its lowest point since May 2001 -- 4.14 percent.

Around 65 percent of the 2,107 respondents polled between Dec. 18 and Dec. 22 said the job market is looking up in the next six months, compared with 31.2 percent holding the opposite view.

Chu Yun-peng (朱雲鵬), head of the university's Research Center for Taiwan Economic Development, said consumer worries about price fluctuations will be an issue worth noting next month, after the government on Wednesday announced plans to raise water and electricity rates next year.

"Although such rate hikes are not likely to trigger inflation, they will definitely impose a burden on normal households and drag down consumer confidence next month," he said.

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