Utahns Confidence in Job Market Remains High
Survey respondents are split on how the current trade negotiations might affect them.
The Zions Bank Utah Consumer Attitude Index (CAI) increased 6.2 points to 119.3 in September. The year-over-year CAI dipped 4.7 points. In comparison, the national Consumer Confidence Index® decreased 9.1 points to 125.1 this month.
The Present Situation Index jumped up 6.9 points from August to September to 139.6. The increase is due to seasonal fluctuations and improving sentiment toward business conditions and job availability, as fewer Utahns are pessimistic about current economic conditions.
In September, 4% of Utahns feel business conditions are bad, down 1% from August and just 1% above the lowest level recorded since Zions Bank began tracking consumer confidence in 2011. Additionally, 8% of Utahns feel jobs are hard to get, down from 9% in August. The Present Situation Index is 0.7 points lower than it was in September 2018.
Utahns uneasy about future business conditions
Compared to 12 months ago, Utahns are more uneasy about future business conditions. Currently, only 23% of Utahns feel business conditions will be better six months from now, a drop of 3% since last year. And 18% of Utahns feel business conditions will get worse in the next six months, an increase of 4% since September 2018. The Expectations Index has fallen 7.4 points year over year to the current level of 105.8.
Even so, the Expectations Index rose 5.7 points from August to September. Utahns are notably more positive about their future incomes, with 40% of Utahns believing their income will increase in the next six months, the highest point since January 2018 and an increase of 4% since August.
According to data released by the U.S. Census Bureau, Utah now has the eighth highest median household income in the nation. And Utah’s median household income grew 7.8% since 2017, also the eighth highest rate in the nation.
“Utahns recognize that our job market is strong — key to their sentiment about the future,” said Scott Anderson, Zions Bank president and CEO. “Even though we are hearing some concerns regarding the future of the economy, Utah continues to be well positioned because of its robust and diverse economy.”
Trade is a hot topic
One topic that has come to the forefront of conversations on the future of the national economy is the possible impact of trade negotiations between the United States and China. In the most recent CAI survey, 19% of Utahns indicated that they have noticed a personal impact as a result of trade negotiations.
With that, 14% of Utahns attribute higher prices to trade negotiations; 6% say they are concerned about overall economic volatility resulting from the negotiations; and 5% say the negotiations have negatively impacted their business (through things like disruptions to supply chains and job instability).
Additionally, Utahns are split on how the current trade negotiations might affect them. In September, 28% feel that current trade negotiations will positively impact their economic situation while 46% feel that negotiations will negatively impact their economic situation.
“The growth of the national consumer price index has been below target levels, so the tariffs that China and the United States have already levied have not, as of yet, done much to raise prices for American households,” said Randy Shumway, chairman and partner of Cicero Group. “But some expect that effect to happen soon, particularly with the new rounds of tariffs largely being placed on non-durable goods.”
About the Zions Bank Utah Consumer Attitude Index
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 October CAI will be released during a press conference at a local business at 10:30 a.m. on Oct. 29.
Content is offered for informational purposes only and should not be construed as tax, legal, financial or business advice. Please contact a professional about your specific needs and advice. Content may contain trademarks or trade names owned by parties who are not affiliated with Zions Bancorporation, N.A. Use of such marks does not imply any sponsorship by or affiliation with third parties, and Zions Bancorporation, N.A. does not claim any ownership of or make representations about products and services offered under or associated with such marks.