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Utahns optimistic about state's economy
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Utahns were upbeat and ready to spend when the holiday season began.

For the month of November, Utah consumers were feeling good about the economy and their prospects for the future, according to the latest Zions Bank Consumer Attitude Index (CAI), a monthly survey of what Utahns think about the state's economy.

The CAI increased 2.3 points to an all-time high of 96.1 from November to December.

Much of that comes from Utahns being much more optimistic about the future of their household income. Twenty-six percent of consumers believe their household income will rise in the next six months, a rise of 3 percent the month before. The percentage of people who thought their income will drop in the next half-year was 8 percent compared to 11 percent the month before.

Meanwhile, the Conference Board said Tuesday that its U.S. index of consumer confidence increased to 78.1 in December, up from 72 in the previous month, signaling America's rising optimism about the country's economy.

"The upbeat consumer mood bodes well for spending in 2014," said Michael Dolega, senior economist at TD Economics.

Optimism about the job market is at a five-year high. That is a positive sign for a strong December jobs report, which will be released next week.

On the homefront, Utahns were more inclined to buy an expensive household item like a refrigerator or television during the holiday season. Twenty-six percent of those surveyed said they were going to buy an expensive item in the next 60 days, up from 23 percent the month before.

Local residents also believed that the value of their homes would increase in the next six months despite rising interest rates affecting the housing market earlier in the year. Sixty-three percent of those surveyed believed the value of their homes would increase over the next year, an increase of 5 percent the month before.

Finally, 40 percent of Utahns believed local business conditions are good while nearly a quarter said there are plenty of jobs available in the Utah market.

"Increased optimism regarding household wealth, household income, and general business conditions signal the potential for an even better holiday spending season in Utah than we previously had projected," said Scott Anderson, president and CEO of Zions Bank. "This is a critical time of the year for retailers, and while we will have to wait until the actual retail data is released in the coming months, early signs point to a successful holiday spending season and an improved outlook for our overall economy."

The Zions Bank CAI surveyed 500 Utahns across the state about their feelings on the economy and was conducted by the The Cicero Group/Dan Jones & Associates.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

vince@sltrib.com

Twitter: @ohmytech

Survey • Upbeat mood about income and state's economic health pushes index to all-time high.
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