Utahns more confident on future, feel headwinds on business conditions

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The Zions Bank Utah Consumer Attitude Index increased 0.8 points to 120.1 in October. The year-over-year CAI ticked down slightly by 0.4 points. In comparison, the national Consumer Confidence Index® decreased 0.4 points to 125.9 this month.

The Utah Present Situation Index decreased 8.1 points to 131.4 points in October from September as slightly more Utahns are showing pessimism about the current state of business conditions and job availability. In October, 6% of Utahns feel business conditions are bad, an increase of 2% since September, while 9% of Utahns feel jobs are hard to get, an increase of 1% since September. The Utah Present Situation Index is 0.4 points higher than October 2018.

In contrast, the Utah Expectations Index jumped up 6.7 points to 112.6 in October from September. Utahns are notably more positive about prospective job availability and business conditions six months from now than they are about current conditions. In October, 31% of Utahns feel more jobs will be available in six months, an increase of 4% since September and, even more positively, only 13% of Utahns feel fewer jobs will be available in six months.

One of the driving forces behind Utahns positive sentiment regarding the future continues to be the strong job market and job growth in Utah. Consumer sentiment is largely driven by personal economic conditions and whether consumers feel their jobs and income are secure. 

The Bureau of Labor and Statistics reported that Utah’s unemployment rate in September dropped to 2.7% — the lowest unemployment rate the state has seen since September 2007. In addition to low unemployment, job growth in Utah remains strong. 

“Utah’s 12-month job growth is now at 3%,” said Randy Shumway, chairman and partner of Cicero Group. “That’s twice the national rate of 1.4%. And even better, Utah has maintained positive job growth across every sector, from manufacturing to professional/business services, for several months. Strong job growth and low unemployment leads to strong wage growth for Utahns. So the continued growth across Utah’s diverse economy continues to make Utahns feel that it can weather any choppy waters that come.”

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.