Utahns Confident in State’s Robust Job Market
Optimism about job security and income growth drove an increase in the expectations index in February.
The Zions Bank Utah Consumer Attitude Index (CAI) remained unchanged from January to February at 117.9 points. In comparison, the national Consumer Confidence Index® increased 6.5 points to 130.8 this month and is 14.7 points higher than it was at this same time last year.
This month’s expectations index increase was largely fueled by improved consumer sentiment regarding the future trajectory of general business conditions statewide, as well as the future trajectory of the labor market.
According to the most recent CAI survey data, 36 percent of Utahns believe that general business conditions will be “better” in their area six months from now, up from 32 percent in January. Likewise, 38 percent of Utahns believe that more jobs will be available in their area six months from now, up from 30 percent in January.
Utahns are also more optimistic about their personal finances, with 32 percent indicating an expectation that their household incomes will increase by more than the rate of inflation over the next two years. This number is up from 28 percent measured one month ago.
Although consumer sentiment remains highly positive across the state, the Zions Bank present situation index fell slightly from 125.2 in January to 124.8 in February. This slight decrease was offset by minor increases in the Zions Bank Expectations index which rose 0.2 points from 113.1 in January to 113.3 in February.
“Utahns appear to be very confident in the state’s robust job market,” said Scott Anderson, Zions Bank president and CEO. “Utah’s unemployment rate is at its lowest levels since early last year. As the statewide labor market continues to expand, I believe that the economy will be able to sustain the tremendous growth that we have witnessed in recent months.”
Growth within the labor market has helped Utahns to remain optimistic about the future trajectory of the economy, despite relatively high levels of inflation statewide. Utah currently has posted inflation above 3 percent in each of the last 9 months.
Despite strong inflationary pressures, Utahns are more optimistic about efforts of local officials to improve the statewide economy, and there is increasing optimism about the national economy as well:
- Forty six percent of Utahns believe the state government is doing a good job of improving the overall economy in Utah, up from 41 percent in January, and
- Twenty eight percent of Utahns believe the federal government is doing a good job of improving the overall economy of the United States, up from 26 percent in January.
“With the business-friendly economic policies that our local government has instituted statewide, it’s no wonder why consumer attitudes remain high,” said Randy Shumway, chairman and partner of Cicero Group. “As the government continues to facilitate business expansion and job growth, I expect consumer attitudes to move in tandem with the state’s economic growth.”
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. Analysis and data collection for the CAI are done by Cicero Group, a premier data-driven strategy and research firm based in Salt Lake City. The March CAI will be released during a press conference at a local business at 10:30 a.m. on March 27, 2018.
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