Survey: Utahns’ optimism about economic future lessens

Stock image | Photo by Worawee Meepian/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Overall current economic conditions in Utah remain strong, though consumer positivity regarding the future economy has declined in the past month, according to Zions Bank.

The Zions Bank Utah Consumer Attitude Index dropped 4.7 points to 115.8 in December. In comparison, the national Consumer Confidence Index decreased 8.3 points to 128.1 this month.

While other Utah indices also saw decreases, Utahns remain pleased about the fitness of the current economy, according to a press release from Zions Bank. About 58 percent feel business conditions are good, a dip of 6 percent from last month’s record-setting high. And 63 percent feel jobs are plentiful, an increase of 2 percent from last year.

Although Utahns are pleased with the current situation, they feel more reserved about future trends. Due likely to recent stock market fluctuations, the percentage of Utahns who believe current 401(k) investments will be worth more a year from now decreased from 49 percent to 39 percent.

“It appears that fluctuations in the stock market are impacting consumer perceptions,” Scott Anderson, Zions Bank president and CEO, said in the press release. “When Utahns see decreases in their investment portfolios, they feel less wealthy, which can affect future willingness to spend.”

Despite changing perceptions regarding the investment market, other market signals indicate economic growth will continue in the state. Utah consumers continue to report that jobs are plentiful and 95 percent of Utahns expect that their incomes will either increase or remain the same in the next six months.

Southern Utah economic landscape

The unemployment rate for Washington County remained unchanged at 3.5 percent in November from October, according to the Utah Department of Workforce Services. Washington County’s unemployment rate is slightly higher than the state average of 3.2 percent but below the national average of 3.7 percent measured in the same period.

The most recent report from RealtyTrac shows that about 5 in every 10,000 homes were in foreclosure in November, an increase from 4 in every 10,000 homes in October.

The unemployment rate in Iron County remained unchanged at 3.6 percent in November from October, according to the Utah Department of Workforce Services.

In the November report by RealtyTrac, approximately 5 in every 10,000 homes were in foreclosure in Iron County, unchanged from October.

Zions Bank provides the Consumer Attitude Index as a free resource to the communities of Utah. Analysis and data collection for the index are done by Cicero Group, a data-driven strategy and research firm based in Salt Lake City.

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1 Comment

  • utahdiablo January 1, 2019 at 8:57 pm

    So if everything is doning so damn well in Utah, then why do we still see homeless folks with signs all over the place? 3.5 0r 3.2 unemployment and these people cannot find jobs? BS…or the free school lunch programs? Parents cannot afford to send their kids to school with a lunch made at home? BS…only until the state mandates the end to welfare, other than for the very few and makes the rest of these people go to work will this really end…and has the income tax and property tax become lower because of all the great economy news and wealth here in Utah? …No, of course not, it’s the almighty greed machine at work, or should I say, YOU work for the almighty greed machine

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