Columbus State’s Butler Center Shows Local Consumer Confidence is Lackluster

COLUMBUS, Ga. — A new study from Columbus State University’s Turner College of Business shows local consumers are still feeling the pain from the recent recession.

Benjamin Blair, director of Butler Center for Business and Economic Research, has started a Community Attitude Survey of Columbus households asking them about their impressions of the economy and the community. The questions are patterned after the nationwide survey used to construct the University of Michigan's Index of Consumer Sentiment.

Results from the study’s first survey show local consumers, on average, expressed pessimism when asked if they are worse off now than they were one year ago with a score of 89. A value equal to 100 indicates an equal amount of positive and negative attitudes. A value below 100 indicates relatively more pessimism, and a value above 100 indicates relative optimism.

Other key findings:

  • Respondents indicate that it’s a good time to make major purchases. (This seeming contradiction could be due to their overall positive perceptions about their household’s economic situation in the coming year.)
  • Households surveyed expressed optimism when asked if they think that a year from now their household will be better off financially, worse off or just about the same
  • Local households consider the top three issues of greatest concern to families are affordable health care, rising prices and having enough income
  • Somewhat dramatic is the degree of negative sentiment regarding the national economy

Quote: “The degree of this latter pessimism is the reason the overall measure reflects negative consumer sentiment. In the future we will use the consumer sentiment measures from this survey as benchmarks and create index numbers in order to gauge changes in local consumer sentiment.”

– Benjamin Blair
CSU’s Sarah T. Butler Distinguished University Chair in Business and Finance

See the report in its entirety at 2013 Community Attitude Survey.