Most Oklahoma consumers expect their personal financial situations to improve or remain the same within the next year, according to the most recent Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey issued Tuesday.
The survey also found Oklahomans’ level of optimism is higher than overall regional expectations.
In Oklahoma, 48 percent of consumers expect their personal financial situation to remain the same over the next 12 months, while 34 percent expect it to improve. Only 18 percent expect their personal financial situation to be worse than it is currently.
By comparison, 27 percent of consumers in the three-state region of Arkansas, Oklahoma and Missouri expect their personal financial situation to improve and 51 percent expect it to be the same. In Arkansas, 28 percent expect their financial situation to improve and 52 percent to stay the same. In Missouri, only 19 percent of consumers expect their situation to improve and 53 percent expect it to remain the same.
When looking at expectations of business conditions, Oklahomans were more optimistic than their neighboring states. About one in three, or 32 percent, of Oklahoma consumers expect business conditions to be favorable in the next year, compared with 30 percent of consumers in Missouri and 22 percent in Arkansas. That trend continued when looking at expectations over the next five years, with 41 percent of Oklahoma consumers expecting positive business conditions compared with 36 percent in Missouri and 33 percent in Arkansas.
That also is reflected in consumers’ expectations of widespread unemployment over the next five years, with 53 percent of Oklahomans expecting widespread unemployment compared with 57 percent in Missouri and 61 percent in Arkansas.
Russell Evans, director of the Steven C. Agee Economic Research & Policy Institute at Oklahoma City University, said energy has been the engine of Oklahoma’s relatively robust economy.
“While the Oklahoma economy has performed enviably well since emerging from the Great Recession, its strength is largely driven by the activity of a single industry (energy) and has yet to be matched by national economic activity,” Evans said. “Survey responses suggest Oklahoma consumers are largely taking an ‘I’ll believe it when I see it’ attitude towards future business conditions generally while remaining optimistic about their personal financial situation. A more balanced combination of personal financial optimism and confidence in future conditions are likely needed to fully unleash Oklahoma consumer spending.”
In addition to the overall Consumer Sentiment Index released in July, the Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey also includes a Current Conditions Index and a Consumer Expectations Index, continuing to follow the model of the national Survey of Consumers produced by the University of Michigan.
The survey’s Current Conditions Index is tabulated from the answers to two questions on the survey: “How is your current financial situation compared with a year ago?” and “What do you think of buying conditions over the next six months?” The Current Conditions Index for Oklahoma is 82.2, higher than that of Missouri, 77.6, and Arkansas, 74.7. The regional Current Conditions Index is 78.7.
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.
Other research partners are the Bureau of Economic Research, housed within the Economics Department at Missouri State University, and the Meinders School of Business at Oklahoma City University, which includes the Steven C. Agee Economic Research & Policy Institute.
Information about the survey, its methodology and research partners can be found at