Arvest Consumer Sentiment Index Summary for March 2015
May 12, 2015
The Arvest Consumer Sentiment Index is based on methodology developed by the University of Michigan for its national-level Index of Consumer Sentiment. It is based on five questions that evaluate consumer perceptions about their current and future finances, current and future business conditions, plans to purchase major household items, current level of consumer debt, current and planned savings, and demographic information. Researchers collected these perceptions using telephone surveys conducted in March 2015.
Arkansas consumer sentiment jumped dramatically from October 2014 to March 2015. Like consumers nationwide, Arkansas residents enjoyed declining gasoline prices at the pump, increasing employment and slowly rising incomes in the past year. The improved readings on components of consumer sentiment in Arkansas were consistent with the positive economic data that have been reported. As unemployment rates were improving, the labor force was growing again and personal income growth was noticeable at the end of 2014.
Missouri consumer sentiment was the highest of the region at 85.2, just short of the national level of 85.3. In the past, Missouri consumers showed an overabundance of caution towards the economy but are now moving towards a more optimistic opinion than the rest of the region. Employment in the Missouri economy has finally surpassed its previous peak and the past several months Missouri has seen very strong job growth. Wage growth continues to be subpar and is an area of concern, but it seems that, for now, the job growth and lower oil prices are boosting consumers' spirits in Missouri.
Oklahoma consumer sentiment improved more than the other states in March, even as the state’s primary industry adjusted to low and volatile crude oil prices. Oklahoma experienced the largest increase in consumer sentiment in March, with the sentiment index improving to 84.8 from the 72.6 October 2014 reading. Time will tell if consumer confidence and broad economic health in the state can offset forthcoming weakness in the state’s oil and gas industry. Employment in non-farm and private sectors managed to hold early gains in 2015 but the oil and gas sector lost 2,500 jobs so far this year.
Index by Income
|All Families||Families Under $75,000||Families Over $75,000|
Index by Age Subgroup
|Age 18-24||Age 25-44||Age 45-64||Age 65+|
Index by Educational Attainment
|High School or Less||Bachelor's Degree||Graduate Degree|
Index by Presence of Children in the Home
Index by Employment Status
|Employed||Unemployed||Not In Labor Force|
Index by Homeownership Status
Data released as part of the Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey, summary and news releases is free for broadcast, publication or use in presentations. Please cite “Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey” as the source each time information is referenced.