The Roanoke College Poll

Virginia Consumer Sentiment and Inflation Expectations Report Finds Consumer Optimism Waning

Nov 22, 2013, 10:11 ET from The Roanoke College Poll

SALEM, Va., Nov. 22, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Consumer optimism is down, according to a new Roanoke College Poll surveying 608 Virginians about their financial situation, general business conditions now and in the future, their inclination for purchasing durable goods, and their thoughts on prices in the near- and long-term.

The Virginia Index of Consumer Sentiment (VAICS) fell to 76.4 in November, down almost 9-points from the last report in August. The retreat follows two consecutive quarters of improvements. Sentiment in Virginia is on par with the nation, which reported a preliminary value of 72.0 for November.

Sentiment about the future economy and household finances is down by more than 8-points since August, reversing its upward trend. The Virginia Index of Consumer Expectations (VAICE) fell to 74.3. The preliminary national measure of expectations is 62.3.

Virginians report being worse off financially today than a year ago and that business conditions have softened. The Virginia Index of Current Conditions (VAICC) fell by more than 9 points since August to 79.5. The nation is considerably more positive on the current conditions as the University of Michigan reports a preliminary current conditions value of 87.2, an 8-point drop since August. The Virginia-US gap concerning current conditions has widened in recent months. Forty-seven percent of Virginians believe that business conditions are worse today than a year ago. This is particularly true among high-income households (48 percent), Republicans (74 percent), whites (55 percent), and those with less than a high school education (57 percent).

Waning sentiment in the Commonwealth and the nation could stem from a variety of sources. Since August 2013, the nation has experienced a government shutdown, a flat labor market, uncertainty about potential increases in the minimum wage and the impact of health care reform, and a volatile stock market. The Commonwealth in particular witnessed a vitriolic gubernatorial race in early November. It is likely a combined effect of these experiences that is pushing sentiment down. 

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SOURCE The Roanoke College Poll