Consumers are kicking off 2015 with good feelings about the economy, according to a new survey of Americans by LIMRA, a research organization for the insurance and financial services industry.
And it could be that with gas prices low, and job prospects better, Americans have a little more money to save–the LIMRA study found that almost half (47 percent) of consumers have an “extreme amount” or “quite a bit” of confidence in their community banks and credit unions, up from 38 percent at the same time last year.
More than a third of respondents said they have a favorable view of the economy overall, the best response since the “Great Recession” of 2007-2009, LIMRA reported. And for the first time since October 2008, consumers with a negative view of the economy are in the minority.
“Consumer sentiment on the economy tends to be seasonal – it’s not uncommon for us to see a boost at the start of each new year,” said Jennifer Douglas, associate research director of LIMRA Developmental and Strategic Research. “To a greater extent, the strong equity markets, labor market, and low gas prices are likely to have prompted a sense of personal financial well-being, influencing their opinion of the broad economy.”
Check out the chart below to see how national and regional banks, mutual fund companies, insurance companies and other representatives of the financial services industry fared in the consumer confidence survey: