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'Economy improved in 2012'

The local economy improved last year, citizens polled in a survey by Market Facts and Opinions (MFO) have said.

In 2011, approximately two in every ten people surveyed by MFO believed the economy was in good shape.

One year later that perception improved to 26 per cent, about three out of every ten respondents.

(See Graph 1)

These were some of the findings of the MFO survey commissioned by the Trinidad Express Newspapers.

The survey was conducted over a two-week period by MFO from November 26 to December 8, 2012 to assess the Government's mid-term performance.

Interviews were conducted by four MFO teams in northwest, northeast, central and south Trinidad as well as in Tobago.

The ethnicities of the respondents polled were Afro-Trinidadian (43 per cent), Indo-Trinidadian (38 per cent) and Mixed/Other (19 per cent).

The sample error of the survey was plus/minus four per cent.

The first part of the survey was published in the Sunday Express yesterday.

It indicated that Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar's approval rating declined from 54 per cent (of respondents polled) in 2011 to 38 per cent last year.

The initial poll, from which comparisons were drawn, was conducted by MFO in April 2011, and commissioned by the Trinidad Express.

With regard to the perception of the economy and standard of living, MFO said of the survey results: "In 2011, approximately two in every ten persons interviewed (21 per cent) assessed the economy favourably. The proportion of persons with this outlook has increased to three in every ten persons (26 per cent) in 2012, Notably consistent with the 2011 findings, approximately half of the sample deems the economic state as fair."

When it comes to standard of living, the majority of respondents interviewed felt that their standard of living had remained the same. (See Graph 2)

In the past 12 months, 56 per cent of the respondents felt their standard of living was the same, 19 per cent said it had improved while 25 per cent said it had worsened.

That was an improvement from 2011, when 51 per cent of respondents felt their standard of living had remained the same, 18 per cent believed it had improved and 31 per cent felt it had worsened.

"Increasingly, respondents perceived a stablilisation in their standard of living," MFO said in its analysis of the survey results.

The MFO concluded that in 2012, respondents were less worried about their personal financial situation than they were in 2011.

"One in two persons indicated that they were not concerned at all about losing their job. This shows an increase in optimism about job security in 2011 as there was an eight per cent increase in the proportion of persons who held this view.

"Thus it may be deduced that although individuals are less concerned about their job security, they still are concerned about their ability to maintain their present standard of living and personal bills," the MFO said.

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