Latest reports show how Utah’s economy is faring
Reports • Zions Bank’s findings show index at four-year high.
Published: January 29, 2014 09:02AM
Updated: March 25, 2014 06:23PM

Utah’s economy and unemployment remain stronger than most other states.

That was one conclusion to be drawn Tuesday after Zions Bank released its Consumer Attitude Index and Wasatch Front Consumer Price Index reports.

According to Randy Shumway, chief executive officer for The Cicero Group that compiles the numbers for Zions. The attitude index was relatively unchanged, increasing .1 points to 96.2 percent from December to January, which is the highest it has been since the report was established about four years ago.

That compares to this month’s national Consumer Confidence Index, which increased to 80.7 percent.

The Zions Bank Present Situation Index, an assessment of confidence in current business and employment conditions, decreased 6.6 to 88.7 percent. Shumway attributed the decline to consumers receiving their credit card bills after the busy holiday shopping season. The Expectations Index, which estimates consumer confidence in the economy six months from now, increased 4.6 percent from December to January.

“Consumer attitudes remained high this month following a strong holiday spending season,” said Scott Anderson, president and CEO of Zions Bank. “While the Present Situation Index showed us that some consumers became slightly less optimistic about the current economic situation, the Expectations Index shows that consumers still have confidence in the trajectory of our economy.”

Consumer prices decreased 0.2 percent from November to December in the Wasatch Front Consumer Price Index. Over the last 12 months, prices have increased in Utah by 1.8 percent compared to the national index of 1.5 percent, which was unchanged from November to December.

Shumway said Utah’s economy is strong.

“Today, Utah has the fifth fastest-growing economy in the country,” he said. “North Dakota is number one. Utah is the fourth most-diversified economy in the country. … We are the only economy in the top five fastest-growing and in the five most-diversified.”

Utah’s unemployment rate is 4.1 percent, 2.6 below the national rate of 6.7 percent.

Falling gasoline and housing prices in December were largely responsible for the decrease in the Consumer Price Index. They were offset by a jump of .6 percent in food prices. That was caused largely because of frosty weather in Chile, which is an important source of fresh fruit to the United States during the winter.

wharton@sltrib.com

Twitter: @tribtomwharton