Recent Roanoke College Poll shows 3rd largest drop on record in Virginia consumer sentiment

Virginia News

SALEM, Va. (WFXR) — A poll of 618 Virginians revealed an overall pessimistic feeling across the Commonwealth for the upcoming year regarding topics such as the economy, inflation, employment, and personal finances.

Consumer sentiment is nearing record lows, largely due to rising COVID concerns, according to the poll.

From May to August of 2021, consumer sentiment fell 7.7 points — the third-largest drop on record — following the heated gubernatorial race in November of 2013 (9.0 point drop) and early pandemic times in May of 2020 (15.7 point drop).

Despite a slight improvement in Virginia’s unemployment rate, July 2020 (7.9 percent) versus July 2021 (4.2 percent), consumer sentiment was driven more by concerns with rising prices and reduced purchasing power.

The report also showed while national consumer sentiment regarding current conditions ranked higher than that of Virginians, the Commonwealth is more optimistic about the future when compared to national numbers.

“Consumer sentiment in the Commonwealth dropped significantly since last quarter,” said Dr. Alice Louise Kassens, Professor of Economics and Senior Analyst at the Roanoke College Institute for Policy and Opinion Research. “The economy continues to strengthen, with the state unemployment rate dropping to 4.2 percent in July. Unfortunately, concerns about rising prices and the virus are driving overall sentiment. The COVID-19 delta variant is creating new uncertainty. The coming weeks will be crucial for a sustained recovery. With little interruption, markets should continue to work out supply chain issues, and prices should return to more normal levels.”

For a more detailed look at the report, including how the poll is conducted and questions asked, click here.

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