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Anchorage consumer optimism spikes to an all-time high

Consumer optimism rose sharply to an all-time high in the second quarter of this year, according to the 2014 Anchorage Consumer Optimism Index (ANCi) issued by the Anchorage Economic Development Corp. The more stable six-month moving average of the index also hit a record high, growing 1.2 points over the previous high set in the first quarter of 2014.

Sponsored by KeyBank and produced by Northern Economics, Inc. on behalf of AEDC, the ANCi measures the confidence of consumers using data from a random sample of 350 households in the Municipality of Anchorage. Comprised of three individual components — Local Economy Confidence, Personal Financial Confidence and Expectations for the Future — the overall reading rose from 60.4 in the first quarter of 2014, to a record high of 63.3 in the second quarter.

“The explicit confidence of Anchorage consumers in their local economy is soaring,” said Bill Popp, president and CEO of AEDC. “This is being driven, in part, by positive news about oil and gas investment, as well as low unemployment in Anchorage.”

The Local Economy Confidence component increased by 1.6 points to 65.2, second only to 2013’s quarter two high of 65.3. Personal Financial Confidence rose 0.7 points from the first quarter of 2014 to a reading of 67.1, most likely due to a strong performance in the stock market, low unemployment and news of renewed investment by Alaska’s oil and gas industry. The Expectations of the Future component reached a record high of 60.4, a steep increase of 4.6 points from the first quarter of 2014.

KeyBank Market President Brian Nerland has seen customer demand for commercial and consumer loans grow since January. That is evidence of optimism, he says, that reflects the low interest rate environment and general positive feeling about the Alaska economy. “Despite uncertainty coming from the proposed oil tax repeal ballot measure, consumer confidence should remain high if businesses continue to invest and unemployment remains stable.”

The full ANCi report is available at AEDCweb.com.

AEDC is a private, nonprofit membership organization developed in 1987 to encourage growth and to diversify the Anchorage economy. The organization has more than 250 investors, which represent all industries in Anchorage and Alaska. For more information visit www.AEDCweb.com.

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