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Utah, U.S. consumers gain confidence in the economy

Published June 24, 2014 2:35 pm

Index • June figure is the highest since January 2008, a month after Great Recession began.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Consumers in Utah and the nation as a whole were more confident in the economy in June than they were a month earlier.

The Conference Board's confidence index for the U.S. rose 3 points to 85.2 this month from a revised 82.2 in May, the private research group said Tuesday. The June figure is the highest since January 2008, a month after the Great Recession officially began.

In Utah, the Zions Bank Utah Consumer Attitude Index, which is based on a survey conducted by the Cicero Group, increased 2.0 points to 98.3 from May to June, regaining some of last month's 6.6 point decline, according to the bank.

Zions noted the percentage of Utahns who think jobs are plentiful increased from 28 percent to 31 percent in June, and the percentage characterizing business conditions as good increased to 46 percent from 42 percent. Consumers nationwide also hold a more positive jobs and business conditions outlook this month compared with May, although neither group expects income will grow over the next six months.

In Utah, 24 percent of consumers said they believe their household income is likely to increase faster than the rate of inflation, down from 26 percent in May.

"Still, the momentum going forward remains quite positive," said Lynn Franco, a Conference Board economist.

The national index compiled by the Conference Board shows that confidence has been rising steadily since bottoming at 25.3 in February 2009. It's well above last year's average of 72.3. But it still hasn't returned to full health. Before the recession, the index usually topped 90.

In Utah, the index has improved 10.4 points over the past 12 months, Zions reported.

The Utah index is based on a representative sample of 500 households.

Zions unveiled it Tuesday at a press conference at Kirkham's Outdoor Products in South Salt Lake.