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Consumer confidence in the economy up in January

Consumers in the Helsinki region were most upbeat about the economy.

Shopping at Espoo's Iso Omena mall (file photo). Image: Henrietta Hassinen / Yle

Consumer confidence in the economy improved in January compared to December 2021, according to Statistics Finland. However, confidence was down compared to a year ago.

The January result of the consumer confidence indicator, -1.7, is in line with the long-term average. The CCI stood at -3.5 in December and 1.2 in November. In January last year, the confidence indicator was -0.9.

The data is based on Statistics Finland's consumer confidence survey, which almost 1,000 people living in Finland responded to in January.

Consumers eager to invest in housing

Consumer confidence in the national economy was rather weak in January. In contrast, consumers’ views of their own financial situation continued to be excellent.

In January, a significant number of consumers had intentions of buying, building or renovating a home. Many also said they were considering the purchase of a car during the next year.

In January, consumer confidence in the economy was clearly the strongest in the Helsinki metropolitan area, as in previous surveys.

In general, confidence in the economy grows with income. Men tend to trust the economy more than women, according to the statistics bureau.

Business confidence varies from sector to sector

The Confederation of Finnish Industries (EK) also found that business confidence in January continued to be bullish.

"The Finnish industry continues to thrive and the biggest issue in terms of growth is still the availability of materials. On the other hand, industries affected by restrictions were hit hard," said EK director Sami Pakarinen in a press release.

Danske Bank Chief Economist Pasi Kuoppamäki said the results are good, considering that the increase in Covid cases and restrictions imposed by the government could have undermined confidence in the economy.

EK encourages new employment policy

More than a third of EK's survey respondents reported that the availability of skilled labour was a problem. In the construction sector, as many as half of the respondents considered the lack of skilled labour to be an obstacle to economic growth.

According to EK CEO Jyri Häkämies, Finland needs to move towards an active employment policy similar to the Swedish model.

"Finland is simultaneously experiencing high unemployment and the most serious shortage of skilled labour ever, which hinders companies' opportunities to grow," Häkämies said in a press release.

Some 1,200 companies, representing a quarter of a million employees in Finland, took part in the survey.