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Survey shows dip in consumer optimism

Staff Reports • Updated Jul 15, 2017 at 8:00 AM

MURFREESBORO – The most recent statewide survey of Tennessee consumers by Middle Tennessee State University’s Office of Consumer Research indicated 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, according to 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.

“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 said.

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

Find the full latest report and previous reports at mtsu.edu/consumer/tnoutlookreports.php.

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 it may lead to “a more cautionary approach” to spending in the future.

For more information, contact Graeff at 615-898-5124 or tim.graeff@mtsu.edu or mtsu.edu/consumer.

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