Tennessee consumer outlook plunges to all-time low

Outlook among Tennessee consumers has plummeted to an all-time low, according to the latest statewide survey by Middle Tennessee State University.

The Tennessee Consumer Outlook Index plummeted in September to a score of –106, down from 20 in June and also lower than the previous record low of -58 score in December 2020, reports the Office of Consumer Research in the Jennings A. Jones College of Business at MTSU. “This precipitous decline in outlook was accompanied by growing concerns about inflation and consumers feeling worried, frustrated, afraid, sad, upset and angry about the current state of affairs with our nation and the economy,” noted Tim Graeff, marketing professor and director of the Office of Consumer Research. 

“Recent events affecting our nation and economy are apparently not unexpected. Only 3% of respondents reported feeling surprised. These negative feelings and accompanying declines in outlook for the economy were felt in all three regions of the state.”

-The top three reasons cited for concerns about the future of the nation and/or economy were: higher inflation, higher taxes and more business shutdowns because of COVID-19.

– The Purchasing Situation Index and the Future Expectations Index are each at their lowest level ever.  

– Mounting concerns about declining values of investments and savings can also significantly inhibit consumers’ desire to open up their wallets and increase spending.

-News partner WGNS Radio provided this news report.

Graphic provided by WGNS radio.