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December proves to be rocky month for consumer confidence

(Pictured, Chad Berbert, Cicero Group)

SALT LAKE CITY – Utahns are feeling a little more uncertain about how strong the national economy will be in the future.  The latest consumer confidence index has taken a tumble over the last month, even though current economic conditions are still strong.

Economists say businesses all across Utah can expect to see plenty of profits this year compared with last.  For instance, the health and fitness industry is doing well in this state.  The Sports Mall owner Brent Cook says he expects to see a six percent jump.

“People who recreate, that is do things that are fun, stick with it,” Cook says.

Plus, there are other indicators that show that it’s not all doom and gloom for Utah consumers.  The majority of people surveyed feel business conditions are good, and 63 percent feel that jobs are plentiful.

However, even if people have faith in the current economy, their outlook on the future isn’t as bright.

Cicero Group Principal Chad Berbert says, “Consumer positivity regarding the future of the economy declined in the past month.  The Zions Bank Utah Consumer Attitude Index dropped 4.7 points to 115.8 in December. The Utah Expectations Index fell a full 6.6 points to 105”, he adds.

Several different things are leading to this drop.  Berbert says the ups and downs of the stock market in recent weeks have led to fewer people believing their 401k investments will be worth more a year from now. Also, there seems to be a drop in confidence in the federal government.

Berbert says, “Recently, inflationary pressures have brought a little bit of disgruntlement, as both President Trump and the Federal Reserve Board appear at odds with regards to economic policy.”

Utahns appear to have a lot more confidence in the state economy, though.  The index says 95 percent of people think their salaries will either increase or stay the same over the next year.