Strong job availability boosts attitudes on the economy, housing remains a pressing issue

zions bankThe Zions Bank Utah Consumer Attitude Index increased 2.4 points to 115.6 in June. Year over year, the CAI has risen 3.8 points. In comparison, the national Consumer Confidence Index decreased 9.8 points to 121.5 this month.

The Utah Present Situation Index rose 2.4 points to 128.5 this month, 1.7 points higher than in June 2018. Both the month-to-month and year-over-year increases were due to Utahns’ strengthening confidence in job availability. Now 66% of Utahns believe that jobs are plentiful, the highest point ever recorded since Zions Bank began measuring Utahns’ economic sentiment in January 2011. The current level of job optimism is 6% higher than last month and 7% higher than in June 2018. Utahns’ confidence in current general business conditions is at the three-year average, with 59% feeling conditions are good.

The Utah Expectations Index increased 2.1 points to 107.0, a jump of 5.1 points since June 2018. Job and income positivity are the leading causes of Utahns’ rising expectations: 36% of Utahns believe their household income will increase within the next six months, 6% more than last year. Additionally, fewer Utahns are pessimistic about job availability prospects, with only 12% believing that fewer jobs will be available in the next six months, a drop of 4% from June 2018.

Utahns feel that the availability of affordable housing has improved slightly since last year. Fewer Utahns are spending large portions of their income on housing; 27% of Utahns report they spend 40% or more of their monthly income on housing, down 2% since last year and 19% spend 50% or more, also down 2% since last year.

Though the affordability of housing appears to be improving, Utahns feel similarly about the supply of housing as they did last year. The percent of Utahns who feel that housing within their area and price range is readily available has remained essentially unchanged at 34%. Still, new housing developments are drawing Utahns’ attention: 21% of Utahns have considered moving into new housing developments emerging across Utah.

“There are many moving parts when it comes to supply meeting demand for housing,” said Randy Shumway, chairman and partner of Cicero Group. “Utah’s economic boom has brought more high-paying jobs to Utah and raised many Utahns’ incomes and, therefore, the price they’re willing to pay for housing. But supply constraints such as land availability and city development limitations make it difficult to match supply and demand in the near term.”

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.