Utahns grow even more optimistic about economic future

zions bankThe Zions Bank Utah Consumer Attitude Index nudged up 0.9 points to 113.2 in May. The year-over-year CAI increased 2.5 points. In comparison, the national Consumer Confidence Index increased 4.9 points to 134.1 this month.

The Present Situation Index dropped slightly, by 0.3 points, to 125.6 in May due to a 1% dip in the percentage of Utahns who feel jobs are plentiful. Meanwhile, Utahns’ confidence in business conditions remains strong, with 61% of Utahns indicating conditions are good. Since May 2018, the Present Situation Index has increased 3.9 points, with more Utahns feeling business conditions are good and jobs are plentiful.

The Expectations Index rose 1.7 points to 105.0 in May. Utahns’ expectations for all three key indicators improved, with expectations about job availability improving the most. As of May, 32% of Utahns feel jobs will be plentiful six months from now, a 7% increase since April. Additionally, 37% of Utahns expect their household income will increase in the next six months, the highest level since March 2018 and a 4% increase since April. The Expectations Index also saw its first year-over-year rise since April 2018 as it ticked up 1.6 points since May 2018.

“It’s significant that Utahns are both positive about the state of Utah’s economy and optimistic about its future,” said Scott Anderson, Zions Bank president and CEO. “It shows consumers are confident going into summer.”

Since November 2018, a growing number of Utahns have anticipated that housing prices will continue to climb in the near future. Now 70% of Utahns say housing prices will increase, one of the highest points recorded since Zions Bank and Cicero Group began tracking consumer attitudes in January 2011 and the highest point since July 2018.

Even so, many Utahns expect their incomes to keep pace with inflation: 32% say it is likely their household income will increase by more than the rate of inflation, while 30% feel it is equally likely and unlikely their income will match inflation.

“Real wages have been trending up around the country and in Utah,” said Randy Shumway, chairman and partner of Cicero Group. “Even though price levels have been rising across Utah, we’re also seeing stronger wage growth. We expect that trend to continue, especially with the sustained job growth and lowest unemployment rate we’ve seen in Utah for over a decade. The situation appears healthy for Utah’s workers.”

Monthly Survey Topic: Movie Theater Attendance & Entertainment

A majority of Utahns (55%) said they have already seen or plan to see a movie in the movie theater in May.  Utahns also indicate they spend an average of $193 and a median of $100 on movie tickets and refreshments in the movie theater each year.

A third of Utahns (35%) said they plan their attendance around discounted showtimes (like matinees and $5 Tuesdays) “always” or “most of the time.” Another 24% said they “sometimes” plan their attendance around discounted showtimes. Almost a half of Utahns (48%) said they purchase refreshments at the movie theater “always” or “most of the time.”

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. The June CAI will be released during a press conference at a local business at 10:30 a.m. on June 25.