* Views on major purchases push confidence higher
* Improvement coincides with election campaign
OTTAWA, April 27 (Reuters) - Consumer confidence in Canada rose in April as more people felt ready to make a major purchase and their outlook on jobs improved, the Conference Board of Canada said on Wednesday.
The board’s consumer confidence index rose to 87.7 in April from 83.7 last month, above its level of 12 months ago but still below pre-recession levels.
The survey was conducted April 7-17, in the early days of a federal election campaign leading up to the May 2 vote, which is focusing largely on the economy and jobs.
Participants in the survey were, on balance, more optimistic on their current finances, future finances, job creation and major purchases in April.
“While all questions showed improvement, the driver behind the overall increase in consumer confidence was the sharp turnaround in attitudes toward major purchases (such as a new home, vehicle or large appliance),” the board said in a release.
For the first time in 11 months, positive responses on this question outnumbered negative ones. The percentage of consumers who said now is a good time to invest in a major purchase rose 4.1 percentage points to 45.7 percent while those who consider now a bad time fell 3.1 percentage points to 42.7 percent.
The survey also revealed regional disparities, with the western province of British Columbia showing the most optimism. Ontario, the most populous province and base of the hard-hit manufacturing sector, retained the lowest level of relative confidence even though the index rose there in April. Quebec was the sole province to see a drop in confidence in the month. (Reporting by Louise Egan; Editing by Frank McGurty)