Despite slight dip in consumer sentiment, Utahns plan to spend more this holiday shopping season

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The Zions Bank Utah Consumer Attitude Index (CAI) decreased 3.1 points to 117.0 in November, while the year-over-year CAI ticked down by 3.5 points. In comparison, the national Consumer Confidence Index® decreased 0.6 points to 125.5 this month.

The Utah Present Situation Index, which measures Utahns’ feelings about current economic conditions, is down 1.7 points from last month, settling at 129.8 for the month of November. While Utahns remain confident in their present economic situation, confidence in job availability and general business conditions slipped slightly. This month, 62% of Utahns feel that jobs are plentiful, down 3% from the near-record high in October. Similarly, 58% of Utahns feel business conditions are good, down 3% from October.

The Utah Expectations Index, which measures expectations about the future economy, dropped 4 points in November to 108.5, slightly above its 12-month average. The level of Utahns who think jobs will be more plentiful in six months dropped back down to 28% from a peak last month of 31%. Additionally, 15% of Utahns think there will be fewer jobs available in six months than there are now, compared to 10% in November 2018. The Utah Expectations Index fell 3.1 points from November 2018.

The Utah Department of Workforce Services reported that the unemployment rate for Utah dropped to 2.5%, compared to the national rate of 3.6%. Additionally, Utah’s 12-month job growth rate increased to 3.3% in October, much higher than the national rate of 1.4%.

“A strong job market and low-interest rates provide greater spending potential for Utahns, which typically has a positive effect on economic growth,” said Scott Anderson, Zions Bank president and CEO.

In the November CAI survey, Utahns were also asked about their winter holiday shopping plans. Utah households plan to spend an average of $1,242 on holiday shopping this year, an increase of $145 per household over last year. Additionally, on average, Utahns plan to do 50% of their holiday shopping online.

“The fact that Utahns are planning to spend more on shopping this year than last year is a good sign,” said Randy Shumway, chairman and partner of Cicero Group. “That shows that the year has been strong for Utahns and they are feeling positive. It also means that businesses can look forward to a strong showing this season, which is generally good for Utah retailers.”

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 December CAI will be released on Dec. 31.