Poll: Arizonans in angst over economy - East Valley Tribune: News

Poll: Arizonans in angst over economy

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Posted: Tuesday, January 29, 2008 5:20 pm | Updated: 11:49 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Arizonans fear for their economic futures. They’re afraid jobs will become scarcer and recession is on the horizon, according to the latest Rocky Mountain Poll by the Behavioral Research Center of Arizona.

Arizonans fear for their economic futures.

They’re afraid jobs will become scarcer and recession is on the horizon, according to the latest Rocky Mountain Poll by the Behavioral Research Center of Arizona.

Statewide, consumer confidence has dropped to its lowest level since 1993 and now stands at 79.8 compared to 101.9 in July and 106.3 a year ago. The consumer confidence base of 100 was established in 1985.

Consumer confidence readings are the lowest since July 2003 in Maricopa County, according to the poll released Tuesday.

Both main elements of the poll — an assessment of current economic conditions and expectations for the coming months — plummeted, down 22 points for current conditions and 22.1 points for expectations.

“The biggest implication, of course, is that consumers will stop buying more so than they have,” said Earl de Berge, research director.

Consumer confidence already was struggling to rise above 100, so with the current decline, “it’s dropping from a modest to a low,” he said. “At the national level, you have some of the major banks and financial institutions in this country and the world deeply concerned about a U.S. recession,” de Berge said. “You have a year’s history of a lot of negative news coming out about real estate and other parts of the consumer market. So I’m not particularly surprised … that we have consumer confidence turning sour as well.”

Most telling is the growing pessimism about the job market, he said. The proportion of Arizonans saying jobs are hard to get has jumped from 14 percent last July to 24 percent now, he said.

“The people who feel jobs are plentiful has dropped from 41 percent to 30 percent,” de Berge said. “And then looking forward, the proportion who thinks jobs are going to be harder to find has jumped from 13 percent to 27 percent. These are clearly expressions of concern that trace back to what they’re seeing in the workplace.”

The proportion who expect business conditions to worsen in the coming six months has more than doubled, from 11 percent in July to 24 percent this month.

Consumer confidence has been falling for some time, meaning an increase isn’t expected anytime soon, de Berge said.

“My guess is that turning this around will be more difficult than it might otherwise be,” he said. “When people really get in a sour mood and it sustains itself for a while, it’s pretty hard to change their mind. They need a lot of positive indicators to make them feel better.”

Residents in Maricopa County remain the most optimistic while those in Pima County remain the most pessimistic.

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