From the Nashville Business Journal on Friday, April 24:
Consumer confidence in the Nashville area has moved back into positive territory after hitting new lows earlier this year. The overall confidence index rose to 105 from a negative 66 in February. A healthy range would be in the 200 to 300 point range, says Timothy Graeff, director of the Office of Consumer Research at Middle Tennessee State University, which conducts the survey.
The Current Situation Index remained in the negative, where it has been for the past year. Still, the negative 121 score was an improvement from the negative 160 in February. “Most of the gains are just in people’s hope for the future,” Graeff says. “There’s a sense that it’s got to get better, it will get better.”
The poll of 470 adult residents of Davidson, Rutherford and Williamson counties was conducted on the evenings of Tuesday, April 21, and Thursday, April 23. Graeff says consumers likely won’t loosen their spending habits much in the short term, but unless there is a major incident to set back confidence, they will start spending more freely. “If they could just hear some good news, they will slowly become more confident, slowly start spending more money, he says.
The key, he says, is for consumers here to feel better about their personal financial situations, Graeff says. “It won’t happen over night,” he says.
In the current survey, 4 percent said it was a good time to make large purchases in general, with 11 percent saying it was a good time to buy a home and 7 percent saying it was a good time to buy a car.