SALT LAKE CITY — Utah consumers continue to be exceptionally bullish about the local economy, a survey showed.
Following a record-high October, the Zions Bank Utah Consumer Attitude Index registered at 124.4 in November — the second straight month above 120. An index above 110 connotes an economy that is at peak levels. The overall index currently sits nearly 10 points higher than the same time 12 months ago.
Nationally, the Consumer Confidence Index rose 3.3 points to register at 129.5 for the month — up 21.1 points over the same period last year. Consumer confidence in Utah has registered above 110 since June 2016, indicating that Utahns continue to be very optimistic about current economic conditions within the state, as well as optimistic about the economy’s future trajectory, explained Randy Shumway, chairman and partner with Cicero Group.
The overall index is based on a representative sample of 500 Utah households surveyed monthly by Cicero Group — with a 95 percent confidence level with a variance of plus or minus 4.38 percent. The results are compared to both Utah data and national data from previous months to identify key statewide consumer sentiment trends.
Shumway said that the index exceeding 120 points for consecutive months and registering above 110 points for more than 12 straight months was a sign of economic health for an already robust economy.
"People are feeling confident about their economic circumstances," he said.
Consumer attitudes within the state have largely been bolstered by positive perceptions of current and future labor market trends, he said. The Beehive State boasts the second-fastest growing labor market nationwide at 2.7 percent employment growth year over year, he noted — almost twice the national average.
“The local government has done an excellent job of creating public policy initiatives that aim at creating a business-friendly environment statewide,” Shumway said from the entrance concourse of the recently renovated Vivint Smart Home Arena. He added that venues like the downtown arena are important drivers of economic development.
"In a macro sense, a study showed that in the 26 years since the arena had been around, there had been over $2 billion of economic impact," said Steve Starks, president of the Utah Jazz and Larry H. Miller Sports & Entertainment Group. "The economic impact happens on a nightly basis, but in a macro sense, it drives a lot of revenue into our economy."
Meanwhile, with consumer attitudes in Utah and nationwide historically high, the economic forecast continues to look bright — at least for the foreseeable future, Shumway said.Comment on this story
"What you see is confidence catching up with the foundation that's been in place for the last couple of years," he explained. "And while we know things will (change) at some point, we don't yet see clouds on the horizon."
He added that 2018 will likely be just as economically vigorous as this year has been.
"Most economists anticipate continued economic growth in 2018," Shumway said. "We will see 'clouds' (one day). We will have 'rain.' But I don't see clouds yet."