The latest Markit Household Finance Index survey shows that consumers are more optimistic about the economy now than at any time since April 2010. The index also shows that household finances are at their highest level since December 2010.
These trends have been attributed to falling inflation and a greater willingness amongst employers to increase wages, but consumer confidence will need to continue improving in order to drive any significant economic recovery.
The Bank of England (BoE) has already predicted that consumer spending will grow in 2012, and, along with increased mortgage lending and rising house prices, the Markit survey adds weight to the BoE’s assessment.
Markit economist Tim Moore said: “These positive developments meant that debt levels stabilised and households’ appetite for major purchases moved back to levels not seen since the VAT (sales tax) rise in January 2011,” but he also warned that “wider job market uncertainty is constraining spending even among those seeing their own situation stabilise.”
Meanwhile, a survey carried out by the Charted Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) showed that, in the last quarter, employers were more ready to increase employees’ pay than they have been since April 2009. Nevertheless, many continue to approach the matter with caution.
CIPD rewards advisor Charles Cotton said: “While the predicted increases in pay settlements reflects a cautious optimism among members in the private sector that the worst may now be over, uncertainty about how fast the economy will improve is acting to moderate pay forecasts.”
Are you optimistic about your financial situation in 2012, or do you need to wipe the slate clean and make a fresh start? Writing off your debt may be the answer.