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 and online surveys conducted in March 2016.
*Revised by the University of Michigan
Arkansas consumer sentiment increased strongly from September 2015 to the latest reading in March 2016. The March 2016 reading is the first time since the inception of the Arvest Consumer Sentiment Index in early 2014 that Arkansas has recorded better consumer sentiment readings than the overall region, Missouri and Oklahoma. In March 2016, the Arvest Consumer Sentiment Index for Arkansas was 84.9, up from 77.8 in September 2015 and higher than the regional reading of 83.4. It is also the closest Arkansas’ index score has been to the national index.
Missourians are slightly more pessimistic about the economy than they were in September 2015. Since June 2014, consumer confidence has grown but essentially plateaued, driven by changes in consumer confidence between two income groups. Consumers with incomes below $75,000 are growing more confident while higher-income consumers saw confidence peak at 98.3 in March 2015 and slowly decline since then. This trend has led to convergence in sentiment among the two groups. In June 2014, there were more than 20 points separating them, while the gap is now only 0.7 points. In March 2016, the Arvest Consumer Sentiment Index for Missouri was 83.9, down from 85.8 in September 2015, and slightly higher than the regional reading of 83.4.
The reality of the severity and duration of the current commodity price downturn and its implications for the Oklahoma economy are reflected in the March 2016 sentiment reading. The downturn is in reaction to weakness in the oil and gas industry, now in its 15th consecutive month of contraction that is expected to last throughout 2016. In March 2016, the Arvest Consumer Sentiment Index for Oklahoma was 81.3, down from 85.0 in September 2015 and lower than the regional reading of 83.4. The drop in consumer sentiment was driven primarily by families making less than $75,000 in annual income.
Index by Income
|All Families||Families Under $75,000||Families Over $75,000|
Index by Age Subgroup
|Ages 18-24||Ages 25-44||Ages 45-64||Ages 65+|
Index by Educational Attainment
|High School or Less||Bachelor’s Degree||Graduate Degree|
Index by Presence of Children in the Home
Index by Employment Status
|Employed||Unemployed||Not in Labor Force|
Index by Homeownership Status
Data released as part of the Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey, summary and news releases is free for broadcast, publication or use in presentations. Please cite “Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey” as the source each time information is referenced.