Tuesday, September 26, 2017

[100] MTSU survey: Tennessee consumer optimism rebounding from summer dip

Latest statewide snapshot shows positive signs as holiday shopping season approaches

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — The most recent statewide survey of Tennessee consumers by MTSU’s Office of Consumer Research indicates the economic outlook has rebounded from a slight decline earlier this year.

The Tennessee Consumer Outlook Index rose to 157 from 123 in June based on “more positive perceptions of the current economy and growing optimism about the future of the economy,” noted Tim Graeff, director of the Office of Consumer Research in MTSU’s Jones College of Business.

“For the first time since this survey began in September 2015, a greater percentage of consumers have positive views of the current economy than have negative views,” Graeff said. “This suggests consumers believe the economy is turning in a positive direction.”

The current survey of 620 Tennessee consumers was conducted between Sept. 1-11 with a margin of error of 4 percentage points. The quarterly survey consists of a series of questions that measure areas such as how consumers feel about the local, state and national economies as well as their personal financial situations and the job market.

Other September report highlights:

• Tennessee consumers are increasingly more upbeat about the job market and the availability of jobs.
• Expectations for the future job market also improved.  (This improved outlook for the job market mirrors the recent drop in unemployment rates for the nation and for Tennessee.)
•  There was also a net increase in the percent of consumers who expect to increase their spending this year compared to last year. 

“Additionally, a more positive outlook regarding the job market could help to lay the foundation for increased consumer spending as we head into the ever-important holiday shopping season,” Graeff added. “Taken together, these results are good news for businesses and retailers.”

In addition to tracking an overall index, the survey includes sub-indices that measure consumers’ views on their current financial situations, future expectations and purchasing plans. 

You can find the full latest report, which has breakdowns by geographic region, and previous reports at http://mtsu.edu/consumer/tnoutlookreports.php.

For more information, contact Graeff at 615-898-5124 or Tim.Graeff@mtsu.edu. Or visit www.mtsu.edu/consumer.

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