Missourians' economic sentiment tops region again

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Arvest-backed survey shows continued gains in confidence

According to results of the Fall 2015 Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey, Missourians' opinion about the economy is slightly higher than the last survey in March, and is the highest measured in the three-state region that includes Arkansas and Oklahoma.

The current consumer sentiment index for Missouri increased from 85.2 in March's survey to 85.8 in September. The index reading of 85.8 also means the sentiment of Missourians is as close as it has been to the national consumer sentiment, as reported by Thomson Reuters and the University of Michigan since the Arvest regional survey began in early 2014. At that time, the national index was 82.5 and the index in Missouri was 68.6, a gap of 13.9 points. Now, with the national index reading 87.2, Missouri's index is just 1.4 points away from matching the national index number.

Missouri has also seen the most improvement in its index among the three states measured, gaining 17.2 points compared to increases of 10.4 for Arkansas and 8.6 for Oklahoma.

The largest gains among Missouri consumers came from four specific areas. Respondents who have children in the home registered the largest increase, from 82.1 in March to 93.6 in September. Among respondents with a high school education or less, the index rose from 67.1 to 74.1. For those with a bachelor's degree, it rose from 89.7 to 93.8. The final notable increase was among respondents who rent, from 82.5 to 86.5.

"The first two years of data for the Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey show that consumers in Missouri continue to gain confidence in the performance of the economy," said David Mitchell, director of the Bureau of Economic Research at Missouri State University. "However, the growth of these gains has begun to slow as news of declining stock markets and slowing global growth have begun to sink in. Consumer sentiment in Missouri has improved 8.4 points since this time last year while only gaining 0.6 points in the past six months.

"Missouri continues to see some job growth which is strengthening consumer's attitudes about the economy. Recent year-over-year job growth is 1.2 percent, relative to the Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey at this time in 2014."

Of the three states included in the Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey, only Arkansas reported a decline in overall consumer sentiment, from 79.1 to 77.8. Oklahoma reported slight increase, from 84.8 to 85.0.

The Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey is conducted by the Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) in the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas. The University of Oklahoma's Public Opinion Learning Laboratory conducted the 1,200 random phone surveys. The CBER, Missouri State University and Oklahoma City University provided state data analysis.

The survey is conducted twice a year, with the next survey expected to conclude in March 2016. With each study, the index score will be released first, followed by additional information regarding specifics of consumer outlook for the near future and plans for savings and spending.

Information about the survey, copies of this release, summary documents and print-ready logos can be found at www.arvest.com/consumersentiment.

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