Friday, April 23, 2010

Consumer confidence nearly doubles locally

The consumer confidence rating in Middle Tennessee has nearly doubled since February, Middle Tennessee State University’s Office of Consumer Research reported today.
The local population felt better about almost all aspects of the economy this month than they did earlier this winter, although they still have negative feelings about the current economy, particularly about the job market.

Most consumers, 55 percent, think “jobs are hard to find,” according to the telephone poll, which involved 421 randomly selected adults in Davidson, Rutherford and Williamson counties on April 19 and April 21. That’s down from 61 percent in February who thought jobs were hard to find.
The percent of consumers who think they’re better off financially from a year ago went from 12 percent in February to 15 percent in April. Now, 45 percent think they’ll be better off in a year than in February, when only 34 percent thought that.
“A key question for local retailers is whether or not this increase in consumer confidence can have a positive effect on consumer spending,’’ said MTSU marketing professor Timothy R. Graeff in a statement. “Unfortunately, negative views of the current economy, fears about the current job market, and concerns about current personal finances suggest that even if some consumers decide to increase their level of spending, many consumers might opt for a “wait and see” approach.”
As for politics, more than half, or 54 percent, think the health care bill will have a negative impact on the economy. And fully 64 percent believe they’ll be forced to pay higher taxes overall in the next year, according to the survey.
Such expectations could dampen consumers’ willingness to spend, Graeff said.

Real Estate Outlook: Positive TrackEconomy picks up with service sector growth, more home contracts