A third and final round of results from the inaugural Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey have been released. This set of results focuses on consumers’ outlook regarding spending, debt and savings in Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma.
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Consumers in Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma reported having similar debts and approximate savings rates as their neighbors, according to final information released today from the Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey.
The results of the Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey, conducted in June and July of 2014, are released in three sections. The first presents an overall Index of consumer optimism of the economy of the state and region, while the second includes a Current Conditions Index and a Consumer Expectations Index as measured by questions about anticipated future changes in economic conditions. This, the third release, presents information about consumer debt and savings. The survey and indexes follow the model of the national Survey of Consumers produced by the University of Michigan.
Consumer debt within the region was divided among several categories and all measured approximately the same types of debt. Within the region, consumer debt was divided among these categories: 37 percent reported mortgage debt, 6 percent reported home equity debt, 28 percent reported auto loans, 31 percent reported credit card debt and 11 percent reported student loans. About one-third of the region’s respondents, 33 percent, reported having no current consumer debt.
A majority of responding consumers, 61 percent, reported they have not made major household purchases in the past six months. The state-by-state breakdown is as follows: Arkansas (65 percent), Missouri (62 percent) and Oklahoma (57 percent). Major household purchases were defined as furniture, a television, refrigerator or other large items.
When it comes to reported savings rates, consumers within the region reported they are saving 11.6 percent of their earnings. Families with incomes of more than $75,000 reported saving 16.5 percent, while families with incomes of less than $75,000 reported saving 9.8 percent. Families with children reported saving 10.2 percent and families without children reported saving 11.6 percent. The overall savings rate for Arkansas is 9.5 percent, while Missouri is at 11.7 percent and Oklahoma 13.1 percent.
Arkansas respondents are the most interested in increasing their savings rate over the next six months, with 23 percent stating they plan to save more over that period. In both Oklahoma and Missouri 15 percent of respondents are interested in increasing their savings rate over the next six months. The regional rate is 17 percent. The majority of respondents plan to keep its current savings rates over the next six months.
The Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey is conducted by the Center for Business and Economic Research in the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. The University of Oklahoma’s Public Opinion Learning Laboratory conducted the 1,200 phone surveys.
Arvest Bank’s sponsorship of this survey is due to its desire to provide beneficial data for its customers and communities. The data provides a reading of how consumers are feeling about the economy in the states where the bank operates. These first results give better, more localized, information than has been available in the past. Because consumers drive the majority of economic activity, it is important to simply know where people in the region stand in their views. Additionally, with future results, consumers and the business community, will be able to see if sentiment is trending up or down with sentiment nationally.
The Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey will be conducted twice a year, with the next survey expected to be completed in November. Information about the survey and research partners, copies of this release, summary documents and print-ready logos can be found at www.arvestconsumersurvey.com.