This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2015, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Consumer attitudes in Utah turned a little bleaker in December amid declining expectations that business conditions and household incomes will improve during the next six months.
The Zions Bank Utah Consumer Attitude Index dropped 5.1 points this month to 108.9, or about 0.4 point below where it was a year ago. The national Consumer Confidence Index, meanwhile, went up during the same period, rising 3.9 points from November to December, to 96.5.
Market researchers at Salt Lake City-based Cicero Group, which compiles the index for Zions Bank, found that nearly two-thirds of Utah consumers believe prices on basic goods and gasoline will rise in the next 12 months.
But only a quarter of those polled expected household incomes to go up faster than the rate of inflation in the next two years. Slightly more than half of residents thought their incomes would remain the same in six months.
About 38 percent of working Utahns believe they will maintain their current living standards once they retire. A similar percentage voiced confidence that $1,000 invested today in their 401(k) retirement account would be worth more than $1,000 this time next year.
Despite the slight dip month over month in portions of the index, a top Zions Bank official said underlying numbers are still strong.
"Current perspectives remain very positive," Scott Anderson, the Salt Lake City bank's CEO and president, said in a statement. "The Federal Reserve's recent decision to raise rates suggests that we are still firmly on the road to recovery from the Great Recession, and Utah continues to lead the pack."
Utahns' confidence in federal management of the U.S. economy also dropped in December, with only 9 percent now believing Washington is helping to improve conditions. Faith in state officials is much higher, though, with 42 percent of residents saying Utah government is doing a good job of improving the economy.
Half of Utahns now say jobs in their area are plentiful, 13 percentage points higher than 12 months ago. Similar shares of residents rate business conditions in their area as good.
Nearly 80 percent of working Utahns now feel it is unlikely they will lose their job in the next two years, up from 73 percent in November.