HPU Poll: North Carolina Consumer Sentiment Remains Low

Mar 02nd, 2022

HPU Poll: North Carolina Consumer Sentiment Remains Low

HIGH POINT, N.C., March 2, 2022 – In the latest High Point University Consumer Sentiment Index, North Carolinians’ opinions about the economy and their personal finances remain low. The newest index, based on the February 2022 HPU Poll data, is recorded at 67.3. That number is lower than a February 2021 HPU Poll.

The HPU Poll’s measure of consumer sentiment is an index that comprises five separate questions asking respondents about different aspects of how they view the U.S. economy and their own personal finances.

“The HPU Poll tracks how North Carolinians feel about their own finances and the current economic climate,” says Brian McDonald, associate director of the HPU Poll and adjunct instructor. “The most recent HPU Poll compared the findings to a year ago, which indicates that consumer sentiment in North Carolina remains low.”

Findings for the individual questions show why the overall index fluctuates year to year, but has remained low, reflecting pessimism among consumers.

February 2022 Index Results:

– 38% of North Carolina residents said they are worse off financially than they were a year ago, compared to 29% of respondents in February 2021.

– 26% of North Carolinians believe they will be worse off financially a year from now, compared to 22% of respondents in February 2021.

– 33% of respondents said they expect bad business conditions in the next 12 months. In February 2021, that number was 34%.

– 34% of respondents said that during the next five years or so, the country will have periods of widespread unemployment or depression.

– 39% of North Carolina residents said now is a bad time to make a major household purchase, compared to 32% in February 2021.

“Supply chain disruptions, astronomical housing prices and inflation are lowering consumer sentiment,” says Dr. Daniel Hall, interim dean and associate professor of economics in the Phillips School of Business. “Consumer sentiment is likely to stay low in anticipation of a recession resulting from the Federal Reserve Bank’s actions to address inflation with monetary tightening through targeting of higher interest rates.”

HPU Poll Consumer Sentiment

Current Finances – All Adults

We are interested in how people are getting along financially these days. Would you say that you (and your family living there) are better off or worse off financially than you were a year ago?

February 2022
Better Off – 24%
Worse Off – 38%
Same/Neither – 36%
Don’t know/Refused – 2%

(Telephone and online interviews with North Carolina residents, surveyed Feb. 11 – Feb. 24, 2022, n = 848 and credibility interval is +/- 3.6%)

February 2021
Better Off – 24%
Worse Off – 29%
Same/Neither – 44%
Don’t know/Refused – 3%

(Telephone and online interviews with North Carolina residents, surveyed Feb. 12 – Feb. 26, 2021, n = 854 and credibility interval is +/- 3.7%)

 

Future Finances – All Adults

Now looking ahead, do you think that a year from now you (and your family living there) will be better off financially, or worse off, or just about the same as now.

February 2022
Better Off – 32%
Worse Off – 26%
About the same – 35%
Don’t know/Refused – 8%

(Telephone and online interviews with North Carolina residents, surveyed Feb. 11 – Feb. 24, 2022, n = 848 and credibility interval is +/- 3.6%)

February 2021
Better Off – 32%
Worse Off – 22%
About the same – 38%
Don’t know/Refused – 7%

(Telephone and online interviews with North Carolina residents, surveyed Feb. 12 – Feb. 26, 2021, n = 854 and credibility interval is +/- 3.7%)

HPU Poll Business Conditions

Business Conditions – All Adults

Now turning to business conditions in the country as a whole, do you think that during the next 12 months we’ll have good times financially, or bad times, or what?

February 2022
Good Times – 19%
Bad Times – 33%
Neither – 27%
Good times with qualifications – 8%
Bad times with qualifications – 7%
Don’t know/Refused – 7%

(Telephone and online interviews with North Carolina residents, surveyed Feb. 11 – Feb. 24, 2022, n = 848 and credibility interval is +/- 3.6%)

February 2021
Good Times – 20%
Bad Times – 34%
Neither – 24%
Good times with qualifications – 11%
Bad times with qualifications – 5%
Don’t know/Refused – 7%

(Telephone and online interviews with North Carolina residents, surveyed Feb. 12 – Feb. 26, 2021, n = 854 and credibility interval is +/- 3.7%)

 

Country Future – All Adults

Looking ahead, which would you say is more likely, that in the country as a whole we’ll have continuous good times during the next five years or so, or that we have periods of widespread unemployment or depression, or what?

February 2022
Widespread unemployment or depression – 34%
Continuous good times – 15%
Neither/Mix of both – 45%
Don’t know/Refused – 6%

(Telephone and online interviews with North Carolina residents, surveyed Feb. 11 – Feb. 24, 2022, n = 848 and credibility interval is +/- 3.6%)

February 2021
Widespread unemployment or depression – 37%
Continuous good times – 18%
Neither/Mix of both – 39%
Don’t know/Refused – 7%

(Telephone and online interviews with North Carolina residents, surveyed Feb. 12 – Feb. 26, 2021, n = 854 and credibility interval is +/- 3.7%)

 

Major Purchases – All Adults

About the big things people buy for their homes, such as furniture, a refrigerator, stove, television, and things like that. Generally speaking, do you think now is a good time or bad time for people to buy major household items?

February 2022
Good time – 21%
Bad time – 39%
Neither – 33%
Don’t know/Refused – 8%

(Telephone and online interviews with North Carolina residents, surveyed Feb. 11 – Feb. 24, 2022, n = 848 and credibility interval is +/- 3.6%)

February 2021
Good time – 29%
Bad time – 32%
Neither – 32%
Don’t know/Refused – 8%

(Telephone and online interviews with North Carolina residents, surveyed Feb. 12 – Feb. 26, 2021, n = 854 and credibility interval is +/- 3.7%)

 

The most recent HPU Poll was fielded by live interviewers at the High Point University Survey Research Center calling on Feb. 11 through Feb. 24, 2022, and an online survey was fielded at the same time. The responses from a sample of all North Carolina counties came from 848 adults interviewed online (810 respondents) as well as landline or cellular telephones (38 respondents). The Survey Research Center contracted with dynata, formerly Research Now SSI (https://www.dynata.com/), to acquire these samples and fielded the online survey using the SRC’s Qualtrics platform. This is a combined sample of live phone interviews and online interviews. The online sampling is from a panel of respondents, and their participation does not adhere to usual assumptions associated with random selection. Therefore, it is not appropriate to assign a classic margin of sampling error for the results. In this case, the SRC provides a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points to account for a traditional 95% confidence interval for the estimates (plus or minus 3.4 percentage points) and a design effect of 1.12 (based on the weighting). The data is weighted toward population estimates for age, gender, race/ethnicity, and education based on U.S. Census numbers for North Carolina. The final stage of weighting ensures proper weighting of the online and live interviews. Factors such as question wording and other methodological choices in conducting survey research can introduce additional errors into the findings of opinion polls. Details from this survey are available here.

Further results and methodological details from the most recent survey and past studies can be found at the Survey Research Center website at www.highpoint.edu/src. The materials online include past press releases as well as memos summarizing the findings (including approval ratings) for each poll since 2010.

The HPU Poll reports methodological details in accordance with the standards set out by AAPOR’s Transparency Initiative, and the HPU Survey Research Center is a Charter Member of the Initiative. See more information here.

You can follow the HPU Poll on Twitter here.

Dr. Martin Kifer, chair and associate professor of political science, serves as the director of the HPU Poll, and Brian McDonald is the associate director of the HPU Poll.