ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) – Roanoke College has conducted a survey that indicates COVID-19 is still weighing on consumer confidence.
Virginia’s Consumer Sentiment Index is unchanged over the past quarter and remains well below pre-COVID-19 levels, and 10 points below the historic average.
The value for May 2021 is 82.7, which has only increased by 0.3 points since February.
Although the measure rebounded slightly in the summer of 2020, frustrations over COVID and concerns about rising prices are weighing on Commonwealth consumers.
The survey shows that consumer confidence has stagnated in the last quarter as concerns about the current economy – including COVID-19 uncertainty and rising prices, weigh on consumers.
In total, 22% of people say their household finances are worse today than they were a year ago, compared to 27% who say they have improved over the same period. .
The poll indicates that Virginians polled are much more concerned about the current economy as measured by the Current Conditions Index (CCI).
The VA ICC is 77.6 – about 12 points below the national value and two points below the Virginia value in February 2021.
However, those who took part in the poll say they are optimistic about the future of the economy – a contrast to the national figures.
Virginians anticipate an increase in overall prices this year and beyond.
Participants said the rapid rise in gas prices associated with the recent cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline likely fueled consumer price concerns.
“Consumer sentiment in the Commonwealth has stagnated in the second quarter of 2021. The economy is strengthening as businesses open up and restrictions are relaxed. Virginia’s unemployment rate was 4.7% in April, down nearly half a point from March. Non-farm payrolls increased by 2,400, with the largest gains being recorded in trade, transportation and manufacturing. Virginians are optimistic about the future of the economy given the strong underlying economic fundamentals. The main drag on confidence in May was the rapid rise in gas prices due to the cyberattack on Colonial Pipeline, coupled with higher prices overall. The fuel price shock resulting from the attack will subside, although gasoline prices are often higher during the summer months due to increased travel. General prices are likely to stabilize by the end of the year as the supply of goods and services catches up with demand. “
Dr Alice Louise Kassens, John S. Shannon Professor of Economics and Senior Analyst at Roanoke College Institute for Policy and Opinion Research.