Arvest Newsroom

Consumers Expect Better Personal Finances, Buying Conditions In Near Future
Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey Measures Respondents’ Economic Outlook

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (Aug. 5, 2014) – A majority of consumers in Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma expects their personal financial situations to improve or remain the same within the next year. They are less optimistic about future business conditions. These observations are found in results from the second phase of the Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey released today.

In addition to the overall Consumer Sentiment Index released in July, the Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey also includes a Current Conditions Index and a Consumer Expectations Index, continuing to follow the model of the national Survey of Consumers produced by the University of Michigan.

In the three-state region, 51 percent of consumers expect their personal financial situation to remain the same over the next 12 months, while 27 percent expect it to be better over the same period. Only 22 percent expect their personal financial situation to be worse than it is currently. By comparison, 28 percent of consumers in Arkansas expect their personal financial situation to improve and 52 percent expect it to be the same. In Missouri, only 19 percent of consumers expect their situation to improve and 53 percent expect it to remain the same. In Oklahoma, 34 percent of consumers expect their situation to improve and 48 percent expect it to remain the same.

When looking at expectations of business conditions, only 29 percent of consumers in the region expect business conditions to be favorable in the next year. That includes 30 percent of consumers in Missouri, 32 percent in Oklahoma and 22 percent in Arkansas. This trend continued when looking at expectations over the next five years, with 37 percent of the regions’ consumers expecting positive business conditions. That includes 36 percent in Missouri, 41 percent in Oklahoma and 33 percent in Arkansas. This is also reflected in the regions’ expectations of widespread unemployment over the next five years, with 56 percent expecting widespread unemployment. That includes 57 percent in Missouri, 53 percent in Oklahoma and 61 percent in Arkansas.

The Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey is conducted by the Center for Business and Economic Research in the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. The University of Oklahoma's Public Opinion Learning Laboratory conducted the 1,200 phone surveys.

The Current Conditions Index is tabulated from the answers to two questions on the survey: "How is your current financial situation compared with a year ago?" and "What do you think of buying conditions over the next six months?" The Current Conditions Index for the region is 78.7. Arkansas' is 74.7, below that of Missouri (77.6) and Oklahoma (82.2).

The Consumer Expectations Index is tabulated from the answers to three survey questions: "How do you expect your financial situation to change in the next year?" "How do you think business conditions will be in a year?” and "How do you expect business conditions will be in five years?" The regional Consumer Expectations Index is 66.7. Arkansas’ Consumer Expectations Index (62.7) is lower than that of Missouri (62.9) and Oklahoma (72.6).

Arvest Bank’s sponsorship of this survey is due to its desire to provide beneficial data for its customers and communities. The data provides a reading of how consumers are feeling about the economy in the states where the bank operates. These first results give better, more localized, information than has been available in the past. Because consumers drive the majority of economic activity, it is important to simply know where people in the state stand in their views. Additionally, with future results, consumers, as well as the business community, will be able to see if sentiment is trending up or down with sentiment nationally.

The Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey will be conducted twice a year, with the next survey expected to be completed in late November. With each study, the index score will be released first, followed by a second release on consumer outlook including the Current Conditions Index and the Consumer Expectations Index and a third release on savings and spending expectations.

Information about the survey and research partners, copies of this release, summary documents and print-ready logos can be found at www.arvestconsumersurvey.com.

About Our Research Partners

The Center for Business and Economic Research, Sam M. Walton School of Business at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville (CBER) provides excellence in applied economic and business research to federal, state and local government, as well as to businesses currently operating or those that desire to operate in the state of Arkansas. The center further works to improve the economic opportunities of all Arkansans by conducting policy research in the public interest.

The University of Oklahoma Public Opinion Learning Laboratory (POLL) serves two functions: to provide a learning environment for the teaching of survey design, public opinion research and data analysis for the purpose of developing student capabilities to conduct academic and professional research and analysis; and to conduct research on public opinion, in order to foster knowledge about public affairs and to assist in the conduct of research on public policy of import to state and local governments, media organizations, other public and private entities, and the general public.

The Meinders School of Business (MSB) at Oklahoma City University, which includes the Steven C. Agee Economic Research & Policy Institute, offers a full range of undergraduate, graduate and professional development programs. MSB prepares graduate and undergraduate students to be socially responsible leaders in a global economy through teaching excellence and faculty scholarship in business practice and the disciplines. Faculty and students engage with the business community, local government and regulatory agencies as part of the teaching-learning process.

The Bureau of Economic Research, housed within the Economics Department at Missouri State University, serves as a clearinghouse for data and publications on economic conditions within the region, state and nation. The staff has a wide variety of experience and is able to provide consulting services, produce detailed GIS maps, economic and industry forecasts and other relevant reports.

About Arvest Bank

Arvest Bank operates more than 260 bank branches in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Kansas through a network of 16 locally managed banks, each with its own board of directors and management team. These banks serve customers in 120 communities with 12-hour weekday banking at most locations. Arvest also provides a wide range of banking services including loans, deposits, treasury management, credit cards, mortgage loans and mortgage servicing. Arvest is an equal housing lender and member FDIC.