Finance

Utah Consumer Attitudes at An All-Time High in March

Optimism in Utah’s labor market driving increased consumer confidence.

Zions Bank Mar 27, 2018

The Zions Bank Utah Consumer Attitude Index (CAI) increased 11.6 points to 129.5 in March, the highest level ever registered by the CAI. In comparison, the national Consumer Confidence Index® decreased 2.3 points to 127.7 this month and is 2.8 points higher than it was at this same time last year.

The Utah Present Situation Index increased 9.4 points to 134.2 while the Utah Expectations index rose 13 points to 126.3, representing record levels for both indices within the state. The increases were largely fueled by improved consumer sentiment regarding the current labor market. According to the most recent CAI survey data, 58 percent of Utahns feel that jobs are “plentiful” in their area, up from 46 percent a year ago.

Historically, consumer sentiment statewide typically increases significantly in the month of March, as March and April are two of the strongest performing months for stock indices nationwide. Optimism regarding the stock market is evident throughout the Beehive State, as 53 percent of Utahns feel a $1,000 investment in their 401(k) will be worth more than $1,000 one year from now, up from 49 percent in February.

“Utah’s robust job market, as well as seasonal changes in perceptions has driven this month’s record-setting optimism in the statewide economy” said Scott Anderson, Zions Bank president and CEO. “A strong labor market and strong savings growth have increased perceptions of personal wealth growth across the state.”

Continued faith in Utah’s robust job market has helped Utahns remain optimistic about the future trajectory of the economy, despite moderate inflation statewide. Utah currently has posted an annualized inflation rate above 3 percent in each of the last 10 months.

Despite some inflationary pressure, Utahns are more optimistic about the state government’s ability to enact good economic policy. Forty nine percent of Utahns believe the state government is doing a “good job” of taking appropriate steps to improve the statewide economy, up from 46 percent in February.

Perceptions of the federal government however, have not improved, possibly due to President Trump’s recent announcement of sweeping tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. According to the most recent CAI survey data, only 24 percent of Utahns feel the federal government is doing a “good job” of taking appropriate steps to improve the nationwide economy, down from 28 percent in February.

“It’s reassuring to see that although Utahns have lost a bit of confidence in federal economic policy, they are still confident in local economic policy making,” said Randy Shumway, chairman and partner of Cicero Group. “As policy makers statewide continue to support innovation and good governance, I see no reason as to why the economy shouldn’t continue to grow.”

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 April CAI will be released during a press conference at a local business at 10:30 a.m. on April 24, 2018.

Zions Bank, a division of ZB, N.A., is Utah’s oldest financial institution and is the only local bank with a statewide distribution of financial centers, operating 100 full-service centers. Zions Bank also operates 24 full-service financial centers in 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 24 consecutive years.  Founded in 1873, Zions Bank has been serving the communities of Utah for more than 140 years. Additional information is available at www.zionsbank.com

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