Canadians were more confident about their finances in August than in July but less so about their job prospects, the Conference Board of Canada reported Friday.
The board said its consumer confidence index rose 2.2 points to 84.7 in August. The index measures confidence relative to 2002, which is assigned an index value of 100.
"While the index has recorded only a marginal improvement since the start of 2013, on a year-over-year basis, it has posted gains in seven of the eight surveys so far and now stands 9.2 points higher than where it was in August 2012," the Conference Board said in its analysis of the survey results.
Nineteen per cent of those who participated in the board's telephone survey between Aug. 8 and 19 said they were financially better off than six months ago, an increase of three percentage points from July.
Almost 25 per cent said they thought their finances would improve going forward, compared to about 22 per cent in July. But only 14.1 per cent said they expect to see more jobs in their communities within six months, 2.6 percentage points less than the previous month.
The job market confidence numbers were down 6.2 percentage points since the start of the year, the lowest level recorded in 14 months, the board said.
Less optimism in B.C. than Prairies
The survey revealed significant regional differences when it came to feelings about finances and the job market.
Residents in British Columbia were much less optimistic about their personal financial situation and the future job market this month than in July. The consumer confidence index in that province dropped 14 points to 93.9.
"On the other hand, in the Prairie region, confidence surged to its highest level this year," the board said. "The index there gained 6.9 points to reach 105.6, as a significant majority of respondents in the three provinces said they expect their finances to continue to improve going forward."
In Ontario, the number of people who thought their finances had improved in the last six months was at its highest level since the spring of 2010, with 20.5 per cent of respondents saying they were better off, an increase of five percentage points over July.
That helped pushed the consumer confidence index up 4.4 points to 79.6 despite the fact that only 12.3 per cent of respondents in that province expected job prospects to improve.
The survey has an error of plus or minus 2.1 per cent.