A bleak investment climate continues to cloak the country's business sector says the fourth-quarter surveys of Business and Consumer Confidence.
"Economic optimism among businesses fell to near its lowest levels during the past four years," the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce- commissioned survey said.
Businesses reported the second worst assessment of the financial returns on their investments in more than ten years.
Only ten per cent of companies surveyed reported a better-than-anticipated turnaround compared to 46 per cent of those whose returns were worst than they expected.
"In all the other intervening periods, the last quarter of 2012 came the closest to the third quarter of 2009 which saw the peak of the financial crisis," pollster Don Anderson explained.
These dismal profits will curtail the willingness of firms to make new investment in 2013, the survey said.
"There is also the feeling that there is no concrete indication that the Government will be able to control its spending and therefore be able to reign in the economy in a way that the experts feel that it ought to be," Anderson said.
Business optimism fell in the last quarter of 2012 to near its lowest level during the past four years, the survey said.
Uncertainties about evolving fiscal and monetary policies in response to IMF conditions as well as concerns about domestic demand and the economic strength of Jamaica's main trading partners were reported to have acted to diminish optimism among business.
Additionally, the survey found the financial health of the Jamaican firms to be at the lowest point since the first half of 2009.
Overall, just over 40 per cent of firms expected their financial balance sheets to improve for 2013 down from 61 per cent in the previous quarter.
Twenty-four per cent of businesses reported a worsened state in their finances up from 13 per cent in the third quarter of 2012.
Though the percentage of investment planning by companies was well below the decade peak of 48 per cent in fourth quarter of 2010, greater investment spending was planned by 35 per cent of all firms surveyed over the last quarter.
The data also indicated that upon sensing better times on the horizon, firms would be keen to increase their fixed investments in plant, equipment and human capital to meet the anticipated economic expansion.
By contrast to the plunge in business confidence, consumer confidence remained unchanged.
Although noting what Anderson described as a "knee-jerk reaction to prevailing economic trends", consumers continued to anticipate the economy to slowly mend during 2013.
This anticipation did not translate into consumer spending however, as a marked cutback in consumer spending was noted.
"The consumer confidence index at the close of 2012 was 120.7 a shadow of the 160.1 recorded in at the start of the year."
The lack of job prospects for the past year was noted as a chief frustration for consumers, forty-seven per cent of whom reported that they expected their job situation to worsen for 2013.
Two-thirds of consumers surveyed anticipated improvements in their living standards for the current year amid expected price increases.
Jamaicans have also shelved spending plans as vehicle, homes and vacation intentions took a dip with vacation plans taking the largest hit.
Leisure plans plummeted to 27 per cent in comparison to the 37 per cent it held at the start of the year.
Fewer individuals approached mortgagers as home-buying intentions fell to nine per cent down from 11 per cent from the previous high of 15 per cent at the beginning of the year.