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Consumer confidence in personal finances hits highest level since 1995

Senior employees were most confident while pensioners were on the other end of the spectrum, Statistics Finland says.

Ihmisiä kauppakeskuksessa.
People at a shopping mall, file photo. Image: Henrietta Hassinen / Yle

Finland's overall consumer confidence indicator (CCI) was slightly lower (4.0) in August compared to the two previous months, but people appear to be more confident about their personal finances than they have been since at least 1995, when Statistics Finland began recording such data.

The number-crunching agency reported on Friday that confidence in the economy continued to be very strong in August, according to a consumer confidence survey it carried out this month.

To determine the CCI, the agency examines four components in its survey, including: a consumer's opinion about his or her current personal economy, what the person thinks their finances will look like in 12 months, their opinion of Finland's economic situation in 12 months as well as the consumer's big-ticket spending plans over the next year compared to the previous year.

Statistical breakdown

Statistics Finland reported that the CCI long-term average in August was -1.7, while at the same time last year it stood at -5.1.

Overall consumer confidence levels were strongest among respondents in the greater Helsinki area (9.1) and weakest (0.0) in Eastern Finland.

The agency noted that confidence usually decreases as people get older, but also tends to rise the more a person earns. Men tend to trust the economy more than women, according to the findings.

Senior employees were most confident (11.9) while pensioners were on the other end of the spectrum (-6.7).

Statistics Finland based its August consumer confidence index on a survey of 971 residents, during the first three weeks of the month.

Business confidence slightly up

Confidence within the business world also rose slightly in August, according to employers' group the Confederation of Finnish Industries (EK).

The group said that confidence within the construction industry rose into the positive figures (5) for the first time since the Covid crisis hit Finland, which correlates to an eight-point increase compared to the previous month.

Retailers were also increasingly confident, with the figure rising from 13 to 18 points. Meanwhile the industrial sector's confidence rose from 17 to 22, according to EK.

On the other hand, confidence levels of the service industry fell from 21 to 15 points.

EK's director, Sami Pakarinen, said the Covid situation continued to affect confidence levels within the service sector.

"There are certainly concerns about the vagueness of [coronavirus-related] restrictive measures, and about expectations on when the crisis will end turned into new disappointment," Pakarinen said in a statement.

He said the Finnish economy was recovering from the crisis faster than expected but noted that all sectors — particularly the service sector — were suffering from labour shortages.

EK's business surveys are part of the Joint Harmonised EU Programme of Business and Consumer Surveys and co-financed by the EU, according to the group.

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