Poll: Maine consumers pessimistic on economy

By From and wire reports, Special to the BDN
Posted Aug. 25, 2010, at 8:39 p.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — A new survey shows consumer confidence in Maine is anything but robust.

The survey released Wednesday by Market Decisions of Portland shows that consumer confidence rose for more than three consecutive quarters after hitting bottom in July 2008. But since April 2009, there’s been no significant improvement.

Market Decisions President Curtis Mildner said the poll shows consumer perceptions of the economy are frozen. He says consumer spending is and will remain weak.

Nearly 45 percent of Mainers say they’re worse off than a year ago. Only one in five expect to be better off in the next year.

About 53 percent of Mainers expect periods of widespread unemployment and depression in the next five years. That’s down from 57 percent in October 2009, but significantly higher than the historic low of 30 percent in April 2000.

Sixty-one percent of Mainers expect the state to have bad financial times in the next 12 months. Forty-four percent of Mainers expect the country as a whole to have bad financial times in the next year.

Only 35 percent of Mainers say now is a good time to make a major purchase. That’s down from 42 percent in October 2009 and the historic high of 85 percent in July 2000.

“With the end of federal incentives for automobile purchases, interest in major purchases has waned,” Mildner said. “Already slow, sales of big ticket items will remain so.”

In the survey, 401 Mainers 18 and older were contacted by phone July 14 to Aug. 3. The poll has a margin of error of 5 percentage points.

http://bangordailynews.com/2010/08/25/business/poll-maine-consumers-pessimistic-on-economy/ printed on October 31, 2014