Survey: Tennessee consumers turn positive again after decline

Survey: Tennessee consumers turn positive again after decline


The most recent statewide survey of Tennessee consumers by MTSU’s Office of Consumer Research indicates the economic outlook has rebounded from a slight decline earlier this year.

The Tennessee Consumer Outlook Index rose to 157 from 123 in June based on “more positive perceptions of the current economy and growing optimism about the future of the economy,” noted Tim Graeff, director of the Office of Consumer Research in MTSU’s Jones College of Business.

Consumers in the latest Tennessee Consumer Outlook Survey were also asked to identify the one word that came to mind when they thought about the future of the overall U.S. economy. The word clouds in this graphic show the 20 most frequently mentioned words, by region of the state. The larger the word, the more frequently it was mentioned. This can provide clues about the thoughts on consumers’ minds as they responded to the survey. These word clouds show that the President Trump was on the minds of many consumers. (Courtesy of the MTSU Office of Consumer Research)

“For the first time since this survey began in September 2015, a greater percentage of consumers have positive views of the current economy than have negative views,” Graeff said. “This suggests consumers believe the economy is turning in a positive direction.”

The current survey of 620 Tennessee consumers was conducted between Sept. 1-11 with a margin of error of 4 percentage points. The quarterly survey consists of a series of questions that measure areas such as how consumers feel about the local, state and national economies as well as their personal financial situations and the job market.

Other September report highlights:

• Tennessee consumers are increasingly more upbeat about the job market and the availability of jobs.

• Expectations for the future job market also improved.  (This improved outlook for the job market mirrors the recent drop in unemployment rates for the nation and for Tennessee.)

•  There was also a net increase in the percent of consumers who expect to increase their spending this year compared to last year.

“Additionally, a more positive outlook regarding the job market could help to lay the foundation for increased consumer spending as we head into the ever-important holiday shopping season,” Graeff added. “Taken together, these results are good news for businesses and retailers.”

In addition to tracking an overall index, the survey includes sub-indices that measure consumers’ views on their current financial situations, future expectations and purchasing plans.

You can find the full latest report, which has breakdowns by geographic region, and previous reports at

For more information, contact Graeff at 615-898-5124 or Or visit

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