FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. —The Arvest Consumer Sentiment Index is based on methodology developed by the University of Michigan for its national-level Index of Consumer Sentiment. It is based on five questions that evaluate consumer perceptions about their current and future finances, current and future business conditions, plans to purchase major household items, current level of consumer debt, current and planned savings, and demographic information. Researchers collected these perceptions using telephone surveys conducted in September 2015.

Index National Regional Arkansas Missouri Oklahoma
June 2014 82.5 71.4 67.4 68.6 76.4
October 2014 86.9 72.6 68.1 77.4 72.6
March 2015 93.0* 83.2 79.1 85.2 84.8
September 2015 87.2 82.6 77.8 85.8 85.0

*Revised by the University of Michigan

Arkansas

Arkansas consumer sentiment declined slightly from March to September 2015. Arkansas was the only state of the three surveyed to have a decline since March. However, while the national consumer sentiment index fell 5.8 percentage points, Arkansas’ index fell by only 0.6 percentage points. While concerns for the national and global economies and uncertainties in the stock market likely contributed to the falling sentiment; lower gas prices, a drop in the unemployment rate and slowly rising incomes are believed to have negated a larger decrease. In September, the Arvest Consumer Sentiment Index for Arkansas was 77.8, down from 79.1 in March 2015, and lower than the regional reading of 82.6.

Missouri

Consumers within Missouri are growing in confidence that the economic recovery is here to stay although they do show some signs of caution. Missouri consumers expressed a more realistic view of the state’s economy, feeling more confident than the rest of the region and almost as confident as the nation as a whole. This should lead to consumers in Missouri being more comfortable making large purchases and possibly taking on additional debt to finance these purchases, dependent on continued job growth in the state as well as a steady growth in wages.

Oklahoma

Oklahoma experienced a small increase in consumer sentiment in September, with the sentiment index improving to 85.0 from the 84.8 reading in March 2015. The sentiment improved slightly in September even as the state’s primary industry adjusts to low crude oil prices and the developing expectations that a low price environment could linger for several years. Time will tell if consumer confidence and broad economic health in the state can offset weakness in the state’s oil and gas industry that will persist into 2016.

Index by Income

All Families Families Under $75,000 Families Over $75,000
Regional 82.6 78.2 92.5
Arkansas 77.8 70.4 80.7
Missouri 85.8 76.1 93.2
Oklahoma 85.0 84.2 89.0

Index by Age Subgroup

Ages 18-24 Ages 25-44 Ages 45-64 Ages 65+
Regional 94.9 90.1 76.5 71.6
Arkansas 121.0 83.6 70.4 67.5
Missouri 90.0 94.4 81.0 73.2
Oklahoma 100.7 91.3 78.3 75.0

Index by Educational Attainment

High School or Less Bachelor’s Degree Graduate Degree
Regional 76.0 93.3 89.0
Arkansas 64.4 81.4 84.8
Missouri 74.1 93.8 84.2
Oklahoma 76.6 85.8 88.5

Index by Presence of Children in the Home

Children No Children
Regional 82.1 80.8
Arkansas 80.8 93.1
Missouri 93.6 76.4
Oklahoma 85.6 78.4

Index by Employment Status

Employed Unemployed Not in Labor Force
Regional 82.8 79.3 78.1
Arkansas 79.3 70.5 66.6
Missouri 83.7 77.5 77.7
Oklahoma 84.0 80.9 75.5

Index by Homeownership Status

Own Home Rent
Regional 71.1 69.8
Arkansas 73.3 71.6
Missouri 79.5 86.5
Oklahoma 80.6 81.3