Utahns’ positive consumer attitudes hold steady while confidence in national trends weakens

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The Zions Bank Utah Consumer Attitude Index (CAI) decreased 0.1 points to 113.8 in February. The year-over-year CAI dropped 4.1 points. In comparison, the national Consumer Confidence Index® increased 9.7 points to 131.4 this month.

The Utah Present Situation Index slipped 2.2 points to 128.8 points in February. The number of Utahns who feel that jobs are plentiful dropped from 63 percent to 60 percent in February. Year-over-year, the Present Situation Index has increased four points, due primarily to Utahns’ perception that jobs are plentiful within the state. 

The Utah Expectations Index inched up 1.3 points to 103.8 points in February due largely to Utahns anticipating the state economy will continue on the same trajectory for the next six months.  Very few Utahns see business conditions worsening in the near future, with only eight percent anticipating deteriorating economic conditions.  That number is down from an already low 12 percent in January.

As further indication that Utahns believe the state economy has reached a stasis point, 66 percent of Utahns believe that Utah business conditions will remain the same over the next six months.  This is a five percent increase from a month ago and an eight percent increase from a year ago.  With this increased perception of relative calm, the Expectations Index has dropped 9.5 points since February of last year.

“Ongoing trade negotiations between the U.S. and China are having noticeable impacts on the global economy,” said Scott Anderson, Zions Bank president and CEO. “While changes to trade terms with China could impact both the price of and demand for American goods, Utahns maintain a largely positive economic outlook.”

The percentage of Utahns who expect interest rates to increase in the next 12 months dropped four percent in February, down to 66 percent from 70 percent in January. This drop accompanies signals in January that the Federal Reserve may hold-off on raising interest rates further due to economic cross-currents like the U.S.-China trade negotiations, Brexit, and the government shutdown that ended Jan. 25.

“We continue to see strong economic indicators in Utah even as consumer perceptions temper somewhat,” said Randy Shumway, chairman and partner of Cicero Group. “Utahns have seen a robust local economy for multiple years now, and while anticipation has tempered, job and income growth remain strong and these two factors will continue to drive consumer spending in the state.”

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.