Belfast Telegraph

Jobs news boosts consumer sentiment

Irish people have become slightly less gloomy after a raft of jobs announcements, economists have said.

The latest gauge of consumer sentiment showed a jump from 56.6 in January to 57 last month, meaning people are a little more optimistic about the future. The recovery follows a sharp drop in the national mood in the run-up to Christmas.

Cormac O'Sullivan, of the Economic and Social Research Institute, said high-profile employment boosts were brightening people's outlook.

"Consumers are clearly responding positively to news of job announcements, whereas news regarding the Greek saga failed to dent confidence," he said.

Austin Hughes, chief economist with KBC Bank Ireland, described the upturn as encouraging.

He said: "Consumers rightly recognise a wide range of problems in their current circumstances and those of the broader Irish economy. So, their mood remains cautious. However, there is also a sense that things are not quite as bad as had been feared in December or as conditions now appear in Greece."

Mr Hughes said consumers may also be sensing more encouraging signs on the jobs front, less economic uncertainty and a calming of recent fears over the future of the euro.

"The trend seen in the sentiment survey in late 2011 suggests that uncertainty and fear weigh heavily on Irish consumers," he added.

"So, it is doubly important that debate ahead of the referendum on the fiscal treaty is clear and reasoned if we are not to see renewed nervousness among consumers."

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From Belfast Telegraph