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Utah Consumers Spend Gasoline Savings as Attitudes Rise

Bob Nelson

For a fifth straight month, Utahns used the money they saved on lower gasoline prices and spent it on everything from cars to food to utility bills. The Zions Bank Wasatch Front Consumer Price Index decreased 0.1 of a percent from October to November on a non-seasonally adjusted basis, driven by lower gas prices. Randy Shumway of the Cicero Group conducts the survey for Zions Bank. He says that drop further boosted the positive attitudes about the state’s economy.

“So right as we go into the November and December season, we’re seeing gas prices drop precipitously," says Shumway. "And the result is that people are transferring what they would typically spend on gasoline, to increased retail spending,” he says.

Credit Bob Nelson
Randy Shumway, Chief Executive of the Cicero Group, explains the Wasatch Front Consumer Price Index and Zions Bank's Consumer Attitude Index changes for November at Tutoring Toy in Foothill Village.

Bill and Diane Sartan’s family has owned Tutoring Toys in Foothill Village for 25 years. They specialize in child development toys. He says the retail industry has had a rough four or five years but things are definitely turning around.

“In the fourth quarter of the year, we had a large surge; a double digit increase, in both the number of transactions as well as the gross dollar passing through the business,” says Sartan.

He says, as a local family business, they can tell their customers are still a little cautious but he is very optimistic about 2014. The Zions Bank Consumer Attitude Index rose a modest 2.3 points in December following a record November jump of 15.7 points.

Bob Nelson is a graduate of the University of Utah with a BA in mass communications. He began his radio career at KUER in 1978 when it was still in Kingsbury Hall. That’s also where he met his wife, Maria Shilaos, in 1981. Bob left KUER for commercial radio where he worked for 25 years, and he is thrilled to be back at KUER. Bob and his family are part of an explorer group, fondly known as The Hordes and Masses, which has been seeking out ghost towns and little-known places in Utah for more than twenty years.
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