Canadian consumer confidence in October showed its largest decline since the price of oil first went below US$30 a barrel back in January. And Alberta’s index was hit especially hard, now sitting just a few points above it’s all-time low.
The Conference Board of Canada’s Index of Consumer Confidence fell more than 6 points in October to sit at 96.7. That’s well above the 80 reading during the last economic downturn indicating Canadians are cautious rather than fearful.
In Alberta, however, the index plummeted more than 15 points to 38.5. That wipes out most of the gains it had made since hitting an all-time low in February. The decline was heavily influenced by what’s happening here in Calgary. The city’s unemployment rate has skyrocketed in the past two months to reach 9.5%, a full point above the provincial average, and the highest rate of all 33 major metropolitan areas in the country.
Consumer confidence took a beating in Saskatchewan-Manitoba region, falling 9.8 points to 74.1 in October. British Columbia’s index decreased significantly as well, falling 8.7 points. Consumer confidence also fell sharply in Quebec. It remained flat in Ontario. Only the Atlantic provinces saw an increase in their index last month.
Canadians in every region of the country were more pessimistic about buying big-ticket item, such as homes or a cars. More survey respondents than in September said their household finances were worse than they were six months before. Expectations about future finances also waned.