MTSU survey: Tennessee consumer optimism dips slig...

MTSU survey: Tennessee consumer optimism dips slightly as summer begins

The most recent statewide survey of Tennessee consumers by MTSU’s Office of Consumer Research indicates consumers’ outlook on the economy “has waned heading into the summer months.”

The Tennessee Consumer Outlook Index declined slightly to 123 from 134 in March, a drop that mirrors results from recent national surveys, noted Tim Graeff, director of the Office of Consumer Research in MTSU’s Jones College of Business. Graeff pointed to the Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index decreases in April and May.

Dr. Tim Graeff

“Overall, Tennessee consumers are feeling somewhat better about both the national and Tennessee economies. However, consumers are experiencing decreased optimism regarding the future of the national and state economy, the job market, and their own personal financial situation,” he added.

The current survey of 627 Tennessee consumers was conducted between June 10 and June 19 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.

This chart shows results of the overall Tennessee Consumer Outlook Index and sub-indices since September 2015. The index is measured quarterly. (Courtesy of the MTSU Office of Consumer Research)

You can find the full latest report and previous reports at

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.

“The modest increase in the purchasing index (in June), along with the decrease in future expectations, suggests very limited increases in consumer spending,” Graeff said, adding that this may lead to “a more cautionary approach” to spending in the future.

For more information, contact Graeff at 615-898-5124 or Or visit

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Consumers in the latest Tennessee Consumer Outlook Survey were also asked to identify the one word that came to mind when they thought about the future of the overall U.S. economy. The word clouds in this graphic show the 20 most frequently mentioned words, by region of the state. The larger the word, the more frequently it was mentioned. This can provide clues about the thoughts on consumers’ minds as they responded to the survey. (Courtesy of the MTSU Office of Consumer Research)