MTSU Poll: "Summer Season Soars Consumer Outlook"

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Tennessee consumers continue to be more upbeat about the economy as summer travel season begins, although job market concerns linger, according to the latest statewide consumer survey results from Middle Tennessee State University.

The overall Tennessee Consumer Outlook Index continued its rise, measuring at 77 for June, which is up significantly from 45 in March and 18 in December. The current online survey of 605 Tennessee residents was conducted June 1-10, with a margin of error of 4 percent.

The Office of Consumer Research in the MTSU Jones College of Business conducts the quarterly survey, which 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. A copy of the full report and previous report are available atwww.mtsu.edu/consumer/tnoutlookreports.php.

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Dr. Tim Graeff, director of the Office of Consumer Research, said consumers by and large feel better about the current economy, but jobs prospects remain an issue. Even though there was a "healthy net improvement" in perceptions of the job market, only 15 percent of those surveyed said jobs are "easy to find," versus 27 percent who said jobs are "hard to find," Graeff noted.

Consumers in Middle Tennessee continue to be the most optimistic and also have the most significant improvement in outlook, the survey shows. West Tennessee consumers lag behind the other two regions in terms of overall outlook regarding the economy.

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And while Tennessee consumers as a whole feel better about the future economy, consumer purchasing indicators dipped, meaning the positive economic outlook might not translate into spending increases in the near term, Graeff noted.

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