The Zions Bank Utah Consumer Attitude Index (CAI) increased 8.6 points to 122.5 in March. The year-over-year CAI ticked down by 7.0 points when compared to the record high set in March 2018. In comparison, the national Consumer Confidence Index® decreased 7.3 points to 124.1 this month.
The Utah Present Situation Index jumped up 5.6 points month-to-month to 134.4, the second highest score recorded since Cicero Group and Zions Bank began tracking the Index in 2011. Year over year the Present Situation Index is 0.2 points above where it was in March 2018. The jump since February is due in large part to improvements in Utahns’ perception of local business conditions and job availability, as well as to seasonality, which often brings improved economic perceptions as spring arrives.
The Utah Expectations Index soared 10.7 points in March to 114.5, the largest month-to-month increase in the past 12 months. Utahns’ expectations around future business conditions and job availability improved, with more Utahns feeling business conditions will improve in the next six months. Year over year, the Expectations Index fell 11.8 points from the all-time high of 126.3 set last March.
“Even though we hear people around the country are lowering their expectations for the national economy, Utahns remain very confident in our local economic situation here in Utah,” said Randy Shumway, chairman and partner of Cicero Group. “Utah is seeing strong job growth across most every major industry, one of the highest employment growth rates in the nation, and one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation. This all contributes to very positive consumer sentiment.”
Utahns also feel positively about their income growth relative to inflation over the next two years. More than a third — 34 percent — feel it is likely their household income will increase by more than the rate of inflation during the next two years, the highest level since May 2017 and tied with the highest level recorded since Zions Bank began measuring Utahns’ sentiment on the economy in 2011.
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.