Michigan consumer confidence on the upswing
Michigan consumers are growing increasingly confident about their personal finances, according to the latest State of the State Survey from Michigan State University.
In a sign of an overall improving economy, 40 percent said their financial situation is better this winter than a year ago. Another 31 percent said they were worse off financially than a year ago.
Their views marked a continuing improvement since the spring of 2009, when only 13 percent said they were better off and 65 percent said they were worse off.
“Michigan’s economy bottomed out in late 2009 and early 2010, and has been slowly improving ever since,” said Charles Ballard, MSU economics professor and survey director. “That improvement is reflected in our survey data, which show that Michigan residents view the economic situation more favorably than they did a few years ago.”
A majority of residents, 54 percent, called their current finances “excellent” or “good” in the survey. Those results are similar to the results of the last several surveys, stretching back to 2012, but well above the reading of 40 percent from five years ago, Ballard said.
Michigan residents are also upbeat about their future. Some 59 percent said they expect to be better off a year from now. Only 20 percent said they expected to be worse off.
Despite the improvements of the last few years, the latest results are much less favorable than those from the late 1990s when the state and national economies were stronger, Ballard said.
“Michigan has added nearly 300,000 jobs in the last four years,” he said. “But that’s against the backdrop of Michigan losing about 860,000 jobs in the previous decade. Employment and output in Michigan are still smaller than they were 10 years ago.”
The latest survey, completed Feb. 10, is a telephone survey of 1,008 Michigan adults, including both cell phones and landlines. The margin of error is about 3.09 percent.
The readings varied considerably among different groups in Michigan.
Only 23 percent of Detroit residents described their current financial situation as “excellent” or “good,” compared with more than 50 percent of residents of other parts of southeast Michigan.
“It’s interesting to note that 6.6 percent of those with household income below $20,000 per year said their current situation is ‘excellent’ and 11.7 percent of those with income above $100,000 said their situation is ‘just fair’ or ‘not so good’,” said Ballard.
“This suggests that people’s assessments of their financial situation are highly subjective, and that they depend a lot on what people are accustomed to.”
Since 1994, the State of the State Survey has operated through the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research, a part of MSU’s College of Social Science.