Utahns End 2011 with Record Confidence
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah; December 27, 2011 - In December, on a seasonally adjusted basis, the Zions Bank Consumer Attitude Index (CAI) increased to 81.9, a jump of 14.1 points compared to November 2011. The national Consumer Confidence Index® (CCI) increased 9.3 points to 64.5. An index of 70 or below is indicative of slow economic growth.
This month, the Zions Bank CAI experienced its largest increase this year, reflecting meaningful developments in consumer confidence based on continued improvements in economic fundamentals. The combination of an improving labor market, moderating inflation driven by falling gasoline prices and a recovering stock market has helped push Utahns’ economic optimism to its highest level all year. As a result, consumers are more confident in a variety of economic areas, including jobs, income, and housing.
Despite continued economic and political headwinds, Utahns head into the new year with increased confidence. This month, the Zions Bank Present Situation Index, which is a snapshot of current business conditions and employment, increased to 54.6, the highest level recorded this year. Nationally, the CCI Present Situation Index increased 8.4 points to 46.7. The Expectations Index for six months from now, which is the best predictor of the direction of consumer spending, increased 14.8 points to 100 in Utah, while the national CCI Expectations Index increased 10 points to 76.4.
In November, 67 percent of Utahns believed they were unlikely to lose a job they wanted to keep in the next two years. Today, that number has increased to 72 percent, indicating growing confidence in the job market at a time when both state and national unemployment rates have seen improvements in recent months.
Despite this year’s inflation, wages have remained largely stagnant, but an increasing number of Utah consumers believe this may change in the near future. Nineteen percent of Utahns said their total household income will likely increase by more than the rate of inflation during the next two years, compared to 14 percent in November.
Consumer confidence in stabilizing home prices increased this month as well. Seventy-three percent, compared to sixty-nine percent in November, believe the price of homes in their community will remain unchanged or increase during the next 12 months.
Overall, consumer attitudes have taken a more positive direction. This month, 22 percent of Utahns stated the economy is likely to improve during the next 12 months, compared to only 14 percent in November. Furthermore, only 13 percent of Utahns believe the Utah State Government is doing a poor job in taking steps to improve the economy, compared to 21 percent in November.
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 January CAI will be released at a press conference at Ski ‘n’ See, 102 West 500 South, at 10:30 a.m. on January 31, 2012.
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 18 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.