Arvest commissions regional consumer confidence poll

Arvest Bank has commissioned a large-scale consumer sentiment survey to measure and report the economic expectations and outlook of consumers in Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. 

The survey will measure respondents’ opinions on their state’s economy for a comparison to the national Surveys of Consumers conducted by the University of Michigan for Thomson/Reuters. Conducted twice a year, the Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey results will be shared with local media outlets and Arvest business customers.

The bank has commissioned four universities — the University of Arkansas, Missouri State University, the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma City University — for the survey. 

The Arvest Bank Consumer Sentiment Survey, which measures the level of optimism on the state of the economy reflected by consumers’ activities of saving and spending, will be designed for direct comparison with the Thomson/Reuters Michigan survey.

The nationally representative Thomson/Reuters Michigan survey is reported on a monthly basis and is based on telephone interviews of households. It is included as a factor in determining the Composite Index of Leading Indicators, a tool used by many economists to judge what is going to happen in the near future. Manufacturers, retailers, banks and the government monitor changes in consumer sentiment to factor the data in their decision-making processes.

The Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) at the University of Arkansas is leading the research team and the University of Oklahoma’s Public Opinion Learning Laboratory (POLL) will conduct the telephone surveys. CBER, Missouri State University and Oklahoma City University will analyze state level data and provide local analysis of the findings. 

CBER director Kathy Deck will be the lead researcher for the project and will provide evaluation and guidance for results within Arkansas. David Mitchell, director of the Bureau of Economic Research at Missouri State University, and Russell Evans, director of the Steven C. Agee Economic Research & Policy Institute at Oklahoma City University, will evaluate results for their respective states.

The first Arvest Bank Consumer Sentiment Survey data should be ready for public release in Spring 2014 after the survey is conducted in February. The next survey results will be released at the end of the third quarter.

The survey is designed to measure three primary indices mirroring the national consumer sentiment survey. Those indices are: Index of Consumer Sentiment; Index of Consumer Expectations; and Current Conditions Index.

“Arvest Bank has always been attuned to our customers and the markets we serve,” said Jason Kincy, marketing director for Arvest Bank. “To be consumer- and community-focused, we need to know our customers’ views on the economic climate as it applies to Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. This type of survey has long been needed on the state level and will help us better understand the economic mood of our friends and neighbors while providing factual guidance for our small business customers as to the economic mood in their markets.”

The survey will have sample size of 1,200 with 400 respondents from each state and margin or error of 4.2% at the state level.

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“The University of Arkansas is pleased to work with Arvest in this endeavor that we feel will provide an incredibly valuable tool for consumers, businesses and policymakers within each of the three states to be surveyed,” Deck said.

The data is meant to provide a snapshot of consumer sentiment which is used by businesses to better understand their customer base. Economists like Deck, use the data to project outcomes in their economic forecast models.

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