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Business & Economy

Survey Finds Utahns Feel Okay as Holiday Spending Begins

Zions Bank, Cicero Group

The latest Consumer Attitude Index survey released by Zions Bank shows consumer confidence is high, but hasn’t increased in November as the holiday shopping season gets underway.Randy Shumway is the CEO of the Cicero Group, the firm that administers the survey. He says most Utahns are feeling good about general business conditions.

“We’re expecting holiday spending to be 3.7% higher this year than it was last year,” Shumway says, “and last year we were about 3-and-a-half percent better than the year before. So that’s very positive.”

Shumway says Utah’s rate of inflation is right where it should be for a healthy economy at 2.3%. He says he’s perplexed however by strong hints the Federal Reserve might raise interest rates in a couple of weeks because nationally prices are increasing at less than a tenth of Utah’s rate.

“That’s one of several data points that suggest that maybe we should wait a little longer, but I think all indications are that the Federal Reserve is going to creep those rates up,” says Shumway.

He says he’s confident gas prices in Utah will continue lag behind the falling national prices so they won’t start climbing again until after Christmas.

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