Consumer confidence at record high, fueled by positive expectations for future business conditions

The Zions Bank Utah Consumer Attitude Index (CAI) increased 8.9 points in October to 125.4, the highest level ever recorded in Utah.

Consumer confidence in Utah has registered above 110 since June last year, indicating that Utahns continue to be very optimistic about current economic conditions within the state, as well as optimistic about the economy’s future trajectory. The overall Utah CAI currently sits 13.6 points higher than its level 12 months ago. In comparison, the national Consumer Confidence Index® increased 5.3 points to 125.9 this month and is 25.1 points higher than it was at this same time last year.

This month’s record-setting increase was fueled by positive attitudes towards Utah’s current labor market, as well as by future expectations for general business conditions and household income increases. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Utah’s 2.6 percent year-over-year employment growth rate trails only Nevada and Georgia, making Utah’s labor market the third fastest growing within the country. Employment growth has been fueled primarily by employment increases within the construction, business services, as well as trade, transportation and utilities sectors, which have grown 6.2 percent, 4.7 percent, and 2.6 percent respectively.

“Growth within Utah’s labor market is benefitting thousands of individuals, especially those within the construction sector,” said Scott Anderson, Zions Bank president and CEO. “The growth that we are witnessing in this sector is a good indicator that Utah has fully recovered from the economic downturn a decade ago.  This is great news for the Utah economy and those working in it.”

Growth within the labor market, spurred by recent influxes in consumer demand for goods and services statewide, has caused prices to rise dramatically within the state: since September of last year, statewide cost of living has risen 3.5 percent overall. Roughly half of the cost-of-living increase during this last year has been caused by housing price increases alone.

Despite recent increases in statewide prices, consumers are confident that general business conditions, job availability, and household incomes will continue to trend upward within the state:

  • Thirty percent of Utahns believe that business conditions in their area will be better six months from now, up from 26 percent a year ago.
  • Twenty-nine percent of Utahns believe there will be more available jobs in their area six months from now, up from 24 percent a year ago.
  • Thirty-seven percent of Utahns believe that their total household incomes will be higher six months from now, up from 32 percent a year ago.

Utahns also report being more likely to purchase locally sourced products. Thirty-eight percent say they are “very likely” to buy goods from local businesses. 

Additionally, local residents also are optimistic about recent efforts by the federal government to improve the national economy:

  • Seventeen percent of Utahns believe the federal government is doing a good job of improving the overall U.S economy, up from 12 percent a year ago.
  • Forty percent of Utahns believe the U.S economy will improve during the next 12 months, up from 20 percent in September of last year.

“Utah’s robust job market has cushioned much of the negative impact that price increases can have on households and individuals,” said Randy Shumway, chairman and partner of Cicero Group. “As Utah’s business friendly public policy continues to attract new companies and highly skilled workers to the state, I see no reason as to why the labor market should not continue this historic expansion.”

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 market research firm based in Salt Lake City.