The consumer confidence index (CCI) this month edged downward 1.04 points to 74.39, as people found it more difficult to find jobs.
However, stock market investments and consumption of durable goods recovered slightly, the CCI survey released yesterday by National Central University showed.
It was the second consecutive month that the index had declined, with four of the CCI’s six sub-indices moving lower and the sub-index on employment experiencing the steepest drop, the survey showed.
The CCI is an indication of the level of public confidence for the next six months in employment, household finances, consumer prices, the domestic economic climate, the local stock market and durable goods purchases.
The employment outlook reading fell 3.65 points to 65.8, as service industries continued to experience drawbacks from a local COVID-19 outbreak, the survey found.
Values that are larger than 100 indicate optimism and while scores below the threshold suggest pessimism.
Dachrahn Wu (吳大任), director of the university’s Research Center for Taiwan Economic Development, which conducted the survey, said that the COVID-19 outbreak in Taiwan has shown signs of abating.
However, a nationwide level 2 alert remains in place, and the service sector has yet to perform as well as it had before the outbreak began, he said.
The worst is likely over, but companies tend to be wary of raising staff numbers until business shows a concrete and lasting improvement, Wu said.
Regardless, the economic situation is not what is used to be before the virus outbreak in May, which explains why people have generally found it more difficult to find jobs, he said.
People also felt less confident about household income moving forward as the gauge declined 3.35 points to 87, while the inflationary gauge lost 2.45 points to 40, reflecting discontent on the part of consumers about the prices of goods, the survey showed.
The public’s confidence in the economy weakened by 0.9 points to 88.6, although GDP showings thus far continue to outperform government projections.
The confidence measures regarding stock market investments rose 2 points to 48.8, while interest in consumption of durable goods rose 2.1 points to 116.15, the survey found.
Wu said that people would likely be more willing to buy new smartphones and other home electronics using the government-issued NT$5,000 stimulus vouchers to be distributed next month.
The university interviewed 2,888 adults by telephone between Sept. 18 and Tuesday last week.
The survey has a confidence level of 95 percent and a margin of error of 2 percentage points.
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