Arizonans' consumer confidence rises

2013-08-19T00:00:00Z Arizonans' consumer confidence risesBy Ronald J. Hansen The Arizona Republic Arizona Daily Star
August 19, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Arizonans are feeling better about the economy and say they are willing to put their money where their mouth is.

Consumer confidence in Arizona stands at 72.5, up from 69.6 in April, according to the latest Rocky Mountain Poll, conducted by the Behavior Research Center and released last week. It was the highest rating since May 2008.

The index is a mix of current feelings about the economy and expectations over the next six months. Current economic conditions rated a 50.0, which reflects stability. But future expectations came in at 87.5, pulling up the overall rating.

A growing share of respondents, 33 percent compared with 29 percent, described business conditions as “good.” At the same time, 47 percent described it as “hard to get” a job, while 43 percent held that view in April.

Still, heavy majorities expect business to continue to get better and the job market to improve in the near term.

The poll also included a series of questions on pricey purchases. The answers were easily better this time compared with those of early 2011, when the questions were last asked.

About a quarter of respondents planned to buy furniture or do major home remodeling or purchase a new computer. Smaller numbers also plan to buy a car or new appliances.

There is evidence that Arizonans are already buying durable goods more frequently.

Overall retail trade in Arizona has grown 1.5 percent over the past year, compared with 2.4 percent nationally, according to figures by the state’s Office of Employment and Population Statistics.

Sales of motor vehicles and parts, one of the pricier segments of retail, rose 6.4 percent in Arizona, compared with 3.1 percent nationally.

“Motor vehicles and parts is actually a saving grace right now in terms of retail,” said Aruna Murthy, director of economic analysis for the state office.

The poll has a margin of error of 3.8 percent.

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