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Business & Economy

Survey Shows "Perplexing" Slump in Utahns' Economic Expectations

The Wasatch Front Consumer Attitude Index slumped in September but not as much as expected. The CAI decreased 1.2 points to 110.0 for the month. The survey for Zions Bank was done by the Salt Lake City-based Cicero Group. Randy Shumway is the CEO of Cicero.

“Statistically we didn’t see a drop, it’s within the margin of error. So we stayed consistent which actually surprised me a little bit. There is so much volatility in the market that I expected to see a drop.” "However,” Shumway says, “the psychology of individuals participating may have been, ‘hey we weathered that volatility, it went down, it went up, we’re going to be okay.’”

But Shumway says he’s troubled and perplexed that the survey shows fewer Utahns have expectations that things will be better six months from now. 

“…because the economy continues to creep up; the economy continues do to better. Utah has created 52,000 new jobs in the last 12 months, and yet there’s still this feel of fear that in 6 months things won’t be as good,” says Shumway.

The Chief Financial Officer of the Larry H. Miller Dealerships, Rourk Kemp, is seeing a better picture. He says prospects of low fuel prices and interest rates staying low has kept even truck sales healthy.

“You’ve got a consumer mindset that would indicate that trucks provide a little more value to them, and as a result when gas starts to drop they find a truck more affordable,” Kemp says.

Zions Bank also reports the Consumer Price Index decreased 0.3% from July to August on a non-seasonally adjusted basis but has increased 1.4% since this time last year. The National Consumer Price Index slid a fraction from July to August.

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