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Midstate consumers slowly feeling better about eco...

Midstate consumers slowly feeling better about economy: report

Midstate consumers continue to gain a more positive outlook on the economy continues, albeit slowly, according to the latest three-county survey by MTSU.

Click on the graphic above to read the complete Middle Tennessee Consumer Outlook Index released today by MTSU’s Office of Consumer Research.

The latest Middle Tennessee Consumer Outlook Index, released today by MTSU’s Office of Consumer Research, reports that the overall consumer outlook index edged up to 199 in September from 193 in April. That compares to an index of 144 in February and 106 in November 2012.

“While significant gains in consumers’ outlook on the economy were observed from November 2012 through April 2013, the current survey reveals only a slight improvement in outlook from April to September of this year,” said Dr. Tim Graeff, director of MTSU’s Office of Consumer Research.

Dr. Tim Graeff

The current poll of 310 randomly selected adult residents of Davidson, Rutherford and Williamson County was conducted Sept. 10-12. The index is computed by adding the percentage of favorable responses to each of a series of questions and subtracting the percentage of negative responses.

Consumers feel more positive about the current economy, even though they are feeling a bit less optimistic about the future of the economy, the survey revealed.

“Middle Tennessee consumers continue to view the local economy more positively than they view the overall U.S. economy,” Graeff said. “However, the largest drag on perceptions of the current economy is concerns about the job market. Less than 10 percent of local consumers reported that jobs in Middle Tennessee are ‘easy to find.’ Conversely, 29 percent reported that jobs in Middle Tennessee are ‘hard to find.'”

While the purchasing situation index was unchanged, the percentage of consumers who expect to increase spending rose to 35 percent from 31 percent. In addition, the percentage of consumers who expect to decrease spending dropped to 20 percent from 28 percent.

“This is good news for local businesses and retailers, especially as we look ahead to the ever important Christmas and holiday shopping season,” Graeff said.

— Jimmy Hart (jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu)


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