Despite some uncertainty in the stock market and how that may affect Utahns’ retirement situations, confidence in the economy appears to remain high. According to a recent Utah Consumer Attitude Index report released from Zions Bank, approximately 58% of those polled in Utah believe business conditions in the state are good. However, that represents a 6% drop from November’s record-setting high. Utahns also believe jobs are plentiful, a belief that is supported by low unemployment.
Recent numbers released by the Utah Department of Workforce Services suggest the unemployment rate in Cache County is the lowest in the state, at 2.8% and has remained at that level since October. In fact, the unemployment rate in Cache County has remained the lowest in the state since 2012.
The biggest gains in employment over the past year in the Logan Metropolitan Statistical Area (which includes Franklin County, Idaho) came in the Professional and Business Services category, representing an 11.6% change from a year ago. The state average unemployment is 3.2% and the national average is 3.7%. The unemployment rate in Box Elder County saw a slight decrease from 3.1% to 3.0%.
Future trends seem to concern Utahns, according to the Zions Bank report. Reflecting volatility on Wall Street, the percentage who believe current 401(k) investments will be worth more a year from now decreased from 49% to 39%.
“It appears that fluctuations in the stock market are impacting consumer perceptions,” said Scott Anderson, Zions Bank president and CEO in a statement. “When Utahns see decreases in their investment portfolios, they feel less wealthy, which can affect future willingness to spend.”
Over the next six months, 64% of Utahns believe business conditions will remain the same, 56% feel employment will remain the same, and 62% feel personal incomes will remain the same. Expectations are that interest rates for borrowing will go up (71%), that prices for consumer goods will increase (68%), and that the price of gasoline will go up (63%).
The Consumer Attitude survey is conducted by Cicero Group with a sample of 500 Utah households.