Consumers across Arkansas see favorable spending conditions in the short-term but when asked about future economic conditions the survey respondents expect leaner times for business conditions and personal finances beyond a year from now.
Arkansas consumers are also more cautious than those surveyed in Oklahoma and Missouri. These results are part of the Consumer Sentiment Index first released in July by Arvest Bank. The second installment of the survey data was released Tuesday (Aug. 5).
The survey of 1,200 consumer households conducted by the Universities of Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma found that a majority in the three-state region expect their personal financial situations to improve or remain the same within the next year. They are less optimistic about future business conditions.
Arkansas respondents ranked the lowest among the three states with regard to buying conditions, but 42% said now is a better time for spending than later. That compared to 46% of respondents in Missouri and 49% of those surveyed in Oklahoma.
About one in three respondents in the total survey said now is a bad time for spending, Arkansas had the highest percentage in this category at 37%.
When asked to assess the buying conditions in the next six months the respondents were somewhat optimistic, though Arkansas ranked slightly less so than the other two states. The Current Conditions Index based on that question found the regional rating at 78.7. Arkansas has a reading of 74.7, below Missouri (77.6) and Oklahoma (82.2).
In the three-state region, 51% of consumers expect their personal financial situation to remain the same over the next 12 months, while 27% expect it to be better over the same period. Only 22% expect their personal financial situation to be worse than it is currently.
By comparison, 28% of consumers in Arkansas expect their personal financial situation to improve and 52% expect it to be the same.
In Missouri, only 19% of consumers expect their situation to improve and 53% expect it to remain the same.
In Oklahoma, 34% of consumers expect their situation to improve and 48% expect it to remain the same.
When looking at expectations of business conditions, only 29% of consumers in the region expect business conditions to be favorable in the next year. That includes 30% of consumers in Missouri, 32% in Oklahoma and 22% in Arkansas.
This trend continued when looking at expectations over the next five years, with 37% percent of the regions’ consumers expecting positive business conditions. That includes 36% in Missouri, 41% in Oklahoma and 33% in Arkansas.
This is also reflected in the regions’ expectations of widespread unemployment over the next five years, with 56% expecting widespread unemployment. That includes 57% in Missouri, 53% in Oklahoma and 61% in Arkansas.