SALT LAKE CITY — Consumers in Utah say they have hope for the economy and their finances, even with rising inflation. And Utahns tend to feel this in greater numbers than Americans in other states.
The Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute tracks consumer sentiment in Utah. They noted this surge in confidence in a survey they conducted between January and February 2022.
The Institute reported that consumer sentiment rose 1.9 points from January to February 2022 to land at 78.8%. Sentiment rose among college students and households earning less than $100,000 a year. It fell for those without a degree and those earning over $100,000 a year.
“We really see the benefits of Utah’s strong economy,” said the Institute’s senior economist Joshua Splosdoff, “and good politics in the lives of its citizens.”
That’s not to say Utah consumers are back to where they felt before the global pandemic hit in 2020.
“Overall, we feel even worse than before the pandemic, so we still have a long way to go,” he said.
And Utahans who earn more than $100,000 a year felt less optimistic than those who earned less. Spolsdoff thinks it’s because households with higher incomes have more assets and more to lose.
The result of the Institute’s latest consumer confidence survey comes as no surprise. Spolsdoff said Utah has always been above the national average.
“We’ve actually had ‘net positive’ job growth for the past two years, while most states have had ‘net negative’ growth. As the nation recovered, we were basically expanding and thriving.
And while the survey notes that Utahans are feeling positive, it was conducted before Russia invaded Ukraine and doesn’t take into account the effects the invasion could have on Ukraine’s economy. Utah or Utahans in general.