CHART: This chart compares the overall Tennessee Consumer Outlook Index and changes by geographic region since September 2017. The index is measured quarterly. (Courtesy of the MTSU Office of Consumer Research)



Middle Tennessee consumers have to most positive views of the current and future economic situations, according to the latest Tennessee Consumer Outlook Survey conducted in June by the Jones College of Business at Middle Tennessee State University.

The Consumer Outlook Index, measured by polling a scientific sample of 630 Tennessee residents about their perceptions of the economy as a whole and their own situation, is up substantially since 2017.

  • Consumers expect the economy to either remain stable or improve in the next 12 months.
  • Positive views of the job market and increased confidence in future personal finances and investments have helped buoy consumers’ outlook.
  • Although some consumers might forgo large purchases in order to increase saving or reduce credit card debt, a growing percentage of consumers expect to increase their spending in the future.

Researchers say that people’s perceptions of the economy can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. An optimistic outlook leads to increased consumer spending, more jobs and investment, more consumers with paychecks to spend, and ultimately a growing economy that inspires more confidence. Pessimism and fear among consumers has the opposite effect.

The current survey was conducted between June 11 and June 16.

Respondents rated the Tennessee economy slightly better than the U.S. economy. 39 percent said business conditions in the country as a whole are “good,” and 44 percent said conditions in Tennessee are good. 10 percent rated U.S. business conditions as bad, the same percentage had that opinion of Tennessee business.

“Consumers continue to feel more positive about the overall U.S. economy, the Tennessee economy, and the current job market,” said Tim Graeff, director of the Office of Consumer Research in MTSU’s Jones College of Business. “The largest gains in outlook were in West Tennessee.”

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

Graeff noted that consumers are also more optimistic about the outlook for their personal financial situation and that overall survey results “show a firm belief among consumers that the economy is on a solid footing.”

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