Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Jason Nageli, vice president of sales for Holmes Homes shows a model home in Midvale on Tuesday, May 28, 2013. Nageli gave his take on consumer confidence in the markets where his company builds homes, at a press conference where Zions Bank released its latest monthly estimate of consumer confidence in Utah
Utah consumer confidence strong; U.S. attitudes rise to five-year high
Reports » Jobs, stock prices and better housing markets lift sentiment.
First Published May 28 2013 05:23 pm • Last Updated Dec 07 2013 11:32 pm

Utah and U.S. consumer confidence surged this month, helped by a better outlook for jobs, record stock prices and a strengthening housing market locally and nationally, according to separate reports released Tuesday.

In Utah, Zions Bank said its Consumer Attitude Index increased to 86.9 from 76.5 in April. The May number is just shy of 90, a reading that suggests the state’s economy is at the doorstep of a full recovery.

Photos
Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

The index is at its highest mark since October. Momentum in the housing and labor markets appears to be outweighing the uncertainty surrounding political turmoil in Washington, as well as worries stirred up by high gasoline prices earlier this year, said economist Randy Shumway, who prepared the Zions report.

"I think the fundamentals are in place," said Shumway, CEO of the Cicero Group, a Salt Lake City market research firm. "We still need a systemic change in Washington, but the economic fundamentals suggest we are in recovery mode.’

Across the U.S., American’s confidence in the economy jumped to a five-year high as more optimism about business conditions suggested consumers may keep boosting economic growth this year.

The Conference Board said its consumer confidence index rose in May to 76.2. That’s up from a reading of 69.0 in April and the highest since February 2008.

The jump in U.S. confidence followed a separate report that showed the housing recovery is strengthening. Home prices jumped 10.9 percent in March compared with a year ago, the most since April 2006, according to the Standard & Poor’s/Case Shiller 20-city index.

In Utah, 62 percent of consumers who participated in Zions’ survey think their home price will increase over the next 12 months. That’s up from 42 percent at the end of 2012. At the same time, construction of houses along the Wasatch Front is accelerating and inventories of homes for sale are at the lowest level in 15 years.

Utah’s unemployment rate now sits at 4.7 percent, one of the lowest rates in the nation and well below the U.S. rate of 7.5 percent. Twenty-one percent think jobs are plentiful in the areas where they live — the highest since Zions rolled out its index in January 2011.

Meanwhile, 74 percent of Utahns think it’s unlikely they will lose their job during the next 10 years, and only 10 percent anticipate their household income will decrease in the next six months.


story continues below
story continues below

Consumers’ confidence in the economy is watched closely because their spending accounts for about 70 percent of U.S. economic activity.

Conference Board economist Lynn Franco said Americans are more optimistic after worrying earlier in the year about higher taxes and federal spending cuts.

Higher home prices and stocks gains are making Americans feel wealthier. That has offset some of the pinch from the payroll tax increase and kept consumer spending.

pbeebe@sltrib.com



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Login to the Electronic Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.