Utah Consumers Less Optimistic About Future Economy
Despite decline in optimism, Utahns surveyed said they are likely to purchase a major household item or make some form of home improvements in 2019.
The Zions Bank Utah Consumer Attitude Index (CAI) decreased 10.2 points to 112.3 in April, the lowest level since June 2018. The year-over-year CAI ticked down slightly by 1.8 points. In comparison, the national Consumer Confidence Index® increased 5.0 points to 129.2 this month.
The Utah Present Situation Index dropped 8.5 points to 125.9 in April, with more Utahns feeling that business conditions are “normal” instead of “good.” Generally, Utahns see the current economic situation as more tempered compared to perceptions in March.
The Expectations Index sank 11.3 points to 103.3 with more Utahns feeling that the economy will hold steady in the next six months, rather than improve or get worse. The percentage of Utahns that feel business conditions will be the same in six months increased 5% to 68%.
Even as sentiment has tempered, Utahns remain more optimistic than pessimistic about the future. The vast majority — 93% — of Utahns feel that business conditions will either improve or remain the same over the next six months, while only 7% feel they will get worse, and 95% feel that job availability will either remain the same or improve over today’s historically low levels of unemployment.
“Utahns are still very confident in Utah’s economy,” said Scott Anderson, Zions Bank president and CEO. “We have to take any negative sentiments into consideration, but it’s clear that Utah’s economy is still one of the best in the country.”
Utahns are also more likely to purchase a major household item in the near future. One-third (34%) of Utahns feel it is likely they will purchase things like furniture, appliances, or a television, the highest percentage recorded since Zions Bank and Cicero Group began tracking consumer attitudes in Utah in November 2011. Similarly, 67% of homeowners in Utah feel it is likely they will make some form of home improvements in 2019.
“Many Utahns are planning to invest in their homes because they are confident in their economic position,” said Randy Shumway, chairman and partner of Cicero Group. “Although Utah has some of the highest home values in the U.S., Utah also has the eighth highest proportion of homeowners in the country at 70%. This puts Utah in a unique place where a large proportion of residents feel that the environment is worth long-term investment.”
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 management consulting firm focused on implementing data-driven strategies for a broad mix of private, public, and social sector organizations across the globe. The May CAI will be released during a press conference at a local business at 10:30 a.m. on May 28.
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