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Pakistanis Feel Very Pessimistic About Current Unemployment Situation, New Poll Shows

Dun & Bradstreet Pakistan and Gallup Pakistan have published their first Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) report in Pakistan.

The CCI reflects the degree of optimism/pessimism that consumers in an economy express through their economic activities. The CCI is a good indicator of the economic health and social well being of a population.

In this report, D&B Pakistan and Gallup Pakistan have published the results of two surveys, conducted in February 2020 and August 2020, respectively. In other words, this report gives an insight into how consumers’ sentiments and future outlook have changed before the onset of COVID-19 in Pakistan (February) and after its peak had passed (August).

Detailed findings are mentioned in the complete report, including breakdown by demographics (gender, age groups, urban/rural, provinces) for all parameters. A summary of the findings is presented here for general overview.

The surveyed consumers were asked to provide their feedback on these parameters: (1) household financial situation, (2) country’s economic conditions, (3) unemployment and (4) household savings.

For each of these parameters, the report also divides consumer responses into three categories: (A) confidence about current economic situation vis-à-vis the past six months i.e. Current CCI; (B) confidence about economic situation as it would look after six months i.e. Future CCI; and (C) the average of Current CCI and Future CCI i.e. Overall CCI.

Summary of findings:

For nearly all of the categories, the consumer responses showed scores below the neutral (neither optimistic nor pessimistic) benchmark. In other words, the respondents were generally pessimistic about the economic health and social well-being.

A few exceptions to the general pessimism can be seen in the Future CCI category here and there. Among all the categories, consumers are the most optimistic about their future household finance situation, in the August survey.

On the other hand, consumers displayed the most pessimism with regard to the current unemployment situation, in the August survey. In other words, consumers have the least amount of confidence about employment today as compared to the previous six months. Optimism about this situation getting better is only marginally better for the future (next six months), even as it remains firmly placed in the pessimistic side of the scale.

Comparing the two surveys from February (pre-COVID) and August (post-COVID), one finds that the Overall CCI remains largely the same. In other words, consumers’ confidence is largely unchanged about economic health and social well-being. However, changes in consumers’ sentiments can be observed over the six months when comparing the different components of the Overall CCIs.

For example, the Current CCI in February shows slightly more confidence than the Current CCI in August. This may be attributed to the onset of COVID-19, from whose effects the consumers were reeling in the latter month. On the other hand, confidence about the future (Future CCI) in August is more than the one in February. In fact, it barely falls short of the optimistic side of the scale.

The surveyed consumers are neither optimistic nor pessimistic about the country’s future economic situation, in both the February and August surveys. In other words, the consumers expect the economic situation to remain largely the same. The sentiments about the current situation of the country’s economy did suffer a blow between February and August, however.

Interestingly, consumers feel relatively confident about their future household savings, in the August survey. This reflects their optimism about future household financial situation (mentioned earlier).

Eyeballing the report in its entirety, one finds that barring a few scores that are slightly above the neutral marker (i.e. on the optimistic side), most scores lie far below, i.e. inside pessimism. It may also be observed that changes in most categories between February and August are not significantly far apart, COVID-19 notwithstanding, meaning that people’s sentiments have remained more or less the same.

These are just a few key points from the CCI report by D&B Pakistan and Gallup Pakistan. The published report lists many other factors, such as consumers’ sentiments about increase in prices, household income, and the difference in CCI between provinces, age groups and gender. It also gives a detailed account of the methodology employed to gather the data. You can find the published report by clicking on the link given above.

D&B Pakistan and Gallup Pakistan plan to publish CCI reports every quarter now, following the inaugural report summarised here.

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