Many Utah consumers feel hopeful about their finances, despite inflation

Mar 3, 2022, 3:28 PM | Updated: 3:57 pm
FILE: Dale and Vicki Hoskins shop at Reams in Sandy on Friday, July 9, 2021.  (Jeffrey D. Allred /D...
FILE: Dale and Vicki Hoskins shop at Reams in Sandy on Friday, July 9, 2021. (Jeffrey D. Allred /Deseret News)
(Jeffrey D. Allred /Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah consumers say they feel hopeful about the economy and about their finances even with rising inflation. And Utahns tend to feel this way in greater numbers than Americans in other states.

The Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute tracks consumer sentiment in Utah. They noted this rise in confidence in a survey they gave between January and February 2022.

The Institute reported consumer sentiment rose by 1.9 points from January to February 2022 to land at 78.8%. Sentiment increased among college students and households earning less than $100 thousand per year. It fell for those without degrees and those making more than $100 thousand a year.

“We’re really seeing the benefits of Utah’s strong economy,” said Senior Economist with the Institute, Joshua Splosdoff, “and good policy in the lives of its citizens.”

That’s not to say that Utah consumers are back to where they were feeling before the global pandemic hit in 2020.

“Overall we’re still feeling worse than we did before the pandemic, so we still have a long way to go,” he said.

And Utahns who make more than $100 thousand a year felt less optimistic than those who made less. Spolsdoff thinks that’s because households with higher incomes have more assets and more to lose.

The result of the latest Institute survey of consumer confidence was not a surprise. Spolsdoff said Utah has consistently been above the national average.

“We’ve actually had ‘net positive’ job growth over the past two years while most states have had ‘net negative.’ While the nation was recovering, we were essentially expanding and booming.

And though the survey notes Utahns are feeling positive, it was conducted before Russia invaded Ukraine and doesn’t take into account any effect the invasion may have on the Utah economy or Utahns in general.

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Many Utah consumers feel hopeful about their finances, despite inflation