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Consumer confidence improving in local area

Consumer confidence across Virginia is relatively unchanged since last quarter, according to the latest Roanoke College Poll.

But the Frederickburg region, which is within the Central Virginia ranking, showed marked improvement from this time last year and last quarter, as well as being higher than the state average.

The Roanoke College Poll interviewed 604 Virginians about their financial situation, general business conditions now and in the future, their inclination for purchasing durable goods, and their thoughts on prices in the near and long terms.

The Virginia Index of Consumer Sentiment rose to 84.5 out of 100 in May, up 1.5 points since February. In Central Virginia, that rating came in at 85.7.

The Virginia Index of Consumer Expectations is 84.7 in May, up slightly from 82.1 in February. In Central Virginia, that confidence is even higher at 86.5.

Consumer sentiment measures current confidence, while the expectations survey looks at the future.

Virginians report being better off financially today than a year ago, and that business conditions have strengthened. The numbers in that survey, called the Index of Current Conditions, is 84.2, little changed since February 2014, but up since 2013. In this category, Central Virginia was close to the state average at 84.5.

Consumer sentiment in all regions of Virginia, other than the Southwest and Southside, improved since February.

Taking the biggest plunges were consumer expectations in Southside and current conditions in the southwestern part of the state.

The highest gains were in the Tidewater region.

According to the poll, the nation as a whole is more positive about current economic conditions recently. The University of Michigan, the national poll that the Roanoke Poll is based on, reported a current conditions value of 95.1, down slightly since February.

Meanwhile, 34 percent of Virginians believe that business conditions are worse today than a year ago, a 3-point reduction since February, while 26 percent report business conditions have improved.

Interviewing for The Roanoke College Poll was conducted by The Institute for Policy and Opinion Research (IPOR) at Roanoke College in Salem.

IPOR was founded at Roanoke College in 1983 to conduct regular surveys in the state on political, economic and social issues. It’s the only organization that measures consumer sentiment in Virginia.

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