Utah consumer attitudes dip after record month for the present situation index, outlook still positive

The Zions Bank Utah Consumer Attitude Index decreased 3.6 points to 120.5 in October.

The year-over-year CAI dipped 4.8 points. In comparison, the national Consumer Confidence Index increased 2.6 points in October to 137.9.

The Utah Present Situation Index dropped 9.2 points to 131.1, after hitting a record-breaking level in September.  The October decline is due mostly to changing perceptions with regards to job availability, with 59 percent of Utahns feeling jobs are plentiful, down 5 percent from September. Year-over-year the Utah Present Situation Index nudged down 0.1 points.

The Utah Expectations Index ticked up 0.2 points to 113.5 in October, with slight drops in Utahns’ outlook of both future business conditions and job availability being cancelled out by a jump in Utahns’ expected income in the next 6 months.

Utahns’ confidence in the U.S. economy overall has held high since December 2016. On average over the last 12 months, more Utahns say it is likely the U.S. economy will improve rather than get worse.  About 37 percent now believe it is likely the U.S. economy will improve during the next 12 months, versus 24 percent who feel it is unlikely the U.S. economy will improve over the same period.

“This is the twenty-ninth straight month that Utah’s CAI has been over 110, a level that signals that Utahns’ sentiment is positive overall,” said Scott Anderson, Zions Bank president and CEO. “And Utah’s job market continues to be incredibly strong.”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Utah’s 12-month job growth was the second-highest in the nation in September, coming in at 3.6 percent. And Utah’s unemployment is also still among the lowest in the nation at 3.2 percent.”

“One of the keys to a robust economy is that its factors of production, or its workers and businesses, are producing at potential,” said Randy Shumway, chairman and partner of Cicero Group. “There are several ways to measure this, including by job growth, unemployment, and real gross domestic product (GDP) — a measure of how much value is produced. In Utah, not only has job growth been strong and unemployment low, but Utah’s real GDP growth has topped the nation as well.”

According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, Utah’s real GDP growth was the second highest in the nation for Q1 of 2018 at 3.2 percent.

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.