Utahns feeling less confident about current and future economic conditions

Zions Bank releases a monthly Utah Consumer Attitude Index (CAI) report and, for July, it appears Utahns are feeling less confident about their current and future economic prospects.

The July report indicates a 1.2 point drop in July. The drop is mostly a result of a more negative outlook on employment opportunities and a drop in confidence in whether or not the U.S. economy will improve over the next 12 months.

Thirteen percent of Utahns think there will be fewer jobs available in their area six months from now. Additionally, only 22% of Utahns believe the national economy will improve. Only 12% of Utahns believe that the federal government is doing a good job compared to 13% last month.

Utahns also believe the general business environment is slightly less favorable compared to last month. 

Close to home, unemployment rates in Cache County and Box Elder County also saw increases. The rate in Cache County rose from 3.4 percent in April to 3.5 percent in May while the rate rose from 3.7 percent to 3.8 percent in Box Elder County over the same time period. The state average is 3.8 percent and the national average is 4.9 percent.

The average price of gasoline has been on a steady decline, reaching a 12-year low for July. That may help certain industries in the state, including tourism. 

“Average gasoline prices are approximately 56 cents less than they were a year ago, which has motivated many Americans to take long road trips this summer to take advantage of the low prices,” the report states. “The average gasoline price in Utah stands at $2.32, while the national average stands at $2.15 per gallon.”

However, general attitudes by Utahns about the economy are much higher than the national average. The Utah CAI is at 110.3 for July, compared to the national Consumer Confidence Index which is at 97.3. The Utah CAI is also five points higher than it was a year ago. Utahns are also showing more confidence in their state government. Forty-five percent of Utahns believe the state is doing a good job in improving the state economy, which is a six percent increase over last month.

“Confidence in business conditions waned slightly this month on the heels of June’s sharp gains, possibly due to uncertainty surrounding last month’s Brexit vote,” said Scott Anderson, president and CEO of Zions Bank. “But markets have bounced back, and Utahns are generally optimistic that our state’s homegrown businesses will continue to thrive.”

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