Utahns Remain Optimistic Despite National Economic Concerns
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah; September 27, 2011 — In September, on a seasonally adjusted basis, the Zions Bank Utah Consumer Attitude Index (CAI) increased to 70.7, an increase of 10.9 points compared to August 2011. The national Consumer Confidence Index® (CCI) increased 0.2 points to 45.4. An index of 70 or below is indicative of slow economic growth.
Last month, consumer confidence in the local economy dropped due to fears of a national economic slowdown. Utah consumer outlook has since returned to a confidence level similar to that in the month of May. As of this month, the local attitude has shifted away from “negative market conditions” to “neutral market conditions.” This implies that Utahns have maintained their cautiously optimistic attitude toward the economy, but are hesitant to predict a bullish market in the near future.
The Zions Bank CAI Present Situation Index, which is a snapshot of current business conditions and employment, rose to 54.1 an increase of 9.8 points. The national CCI Present Situation Index decreased 1.8 points to 32.5. The Expectations Index for six months from now, which more closely projects the direction of consumer spending, increased 11.7 points to 81.1 in Utah, while the national CCI Expectations Index increased 1.6 points to 54.0.
A deeper evaluation of the local economy reveals that consumers have found various reasons to warrant an improved economic outlook. September’s rise in optimism quickly erased last month’s sharp fall in confidence.
Last month, 52 percent of Utahns believed it to be unlikely that the U.S. economy would improve during the next 12 months. That number has since fallen to 48 percent, signaling that local confidence in the U.S. economy has improved slightly but still merits caution.
Despite this month’s rise in economic optimism, Utahns still feel they lack proper economic assurance from the federal government. Almost three out of four Utahns (71 percent) believe the Federal Government is performing poorly in taking steps to improve the economy, while 16 percent have the same assessment of the Utah State Government.
Local assessment of current business conditions in the state has remained unchanged. Currently 25 percent of Utahns view general business conditions in their area as “good,” while 10 percent of Utahns would describe the availability of jobs in their area as “plentiful.”
In September, consumer confidence in personal job stability increased 10 percent. Sixty-five percent of Utahns, up from 59 percent in August, believe they are unlikely to lose a job in the next 2 years that they wanted to keep.
Investment confidence also increased this month. Twenty-four percent of Utahns, compared to 19 percent last month, believe that a $1,000 investment in their 401K will be worth more by this time next year.
Zions Bank provides the CAI as a free resource to the communities of Utah. The monthly CAI summary reports are released at a monthly press conference, coinciding with The Conference Board’s national CCI release date. The reports are available online at www.zionsbank.com/cai. Analysis and data collection for the CAI are done by The Cicero Group/Dan Jones & Associates, a premier market research firm based in Salt Lake City. The October CAI will be released at a press conference at a Salt Lake-area business at 10:30 a.m. on October 25, 2011.
Zions Bank is Utah’s oldest financial institution and is the only local bank with a statewide distribution of financial centers, Zions Bank operates locations in communities throughout Utah and Idaho. In addition to offering a wide range of traditional banking services, Zions Bank is also a leader in small business lending and has ranked as the No. 1 lender of U.S. Small Business Administration 7(a) loans in Utah for the past 17 consecutive years. Founded in 1873, Zions Bank has been serving the communities of Utah for more than 135 years. Additional information is available at www.zionsbank.com.