The Zions Bank Utah Consumer Attitude Index increased 1.7 points to 113.6 in July. In comparison, the national Consumer Confidence Index increased 0.3 points to 127.4 last month.
Utahns’ expectations for the Utah economy improved across each of the three indicators: business conditions, job availability, and household income, according to a press release from Zions Bank. The largest increase was Utahns’ heightened confidence that their future income will increase over the next six months. Increases were also seen in the percentage of Utahns who indicated they expect more jobs to be available and business conditions to be better six months from now.
Even with positive signs for business conditions, increasing interest rates and the increasing cost of living are still weighing on Utahns’ minds. Forty-one percent of Utah consumers believe it is unlikely that their household income will increase by more than the rate of inflation during the next two years.
“There are many positive economic signs for Utah,” said Scott Anderson, Zions Bank president and CEO. “Unemployment is at 3 percent, well below the national average, and job growth is high at 3.4 percent, well above the national average. Utah has robust growth across most industries and counties. Additionally, 50 percent of Utahns feel their state government is doing a good job with the economy, one of the highest levels in recent history. These are all promising signs that Utah will continue as one of the states with the strongest growth in the nation.”
Randy Shumway, chairman and partner of Cicero Group, added, “The current job growth and employment situation are important to a good outlook for consumers. But the future outlook for consumers is arguably even more important to their spending habits than the present outlook is. If workers are confident that they’ll have a stable job and good and increasing wages in the future then their spending habits will reflect that positive outlook. As good as consumers see things right now, there are about twice as many people confident in their present situation compared to those who are confident in their future situation. This is not a bad thing, especially when such a high proportion of the population feels job availability and business conditions are good. What it does mean is that with a job market that is driving as fast as it is, some feel that it likely can’t get much better. Another good sign is how few people feel things are going to get worse. For example, only six percent feel that business conditions are going to get worse.”