US consumers more optimistic in economy, helps MT tourism - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

US consumers more optimistic in economy, helps MT tourism

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HELENA -

The Conference Board released a study today that shows US consumer confidence has increased to 91 percent for the month of July. Earlier this month we learned the Montana unemployment rate is continuing to decrease, and that goes for gas prices as well.

Conference Board Economist Lynn Franco said its these factors that helped play a roll in the steady increase in consumer confidence.

"The fact that we've had these increases over the last several months, it's showing us that these consumers are in a better frame of mind and little bit more willing to spend," Franco said.

Voices of Montana Tourism Director Mike Garcia said the tourism industry in Montana is seeing the benefits of consumers being more inclined to spend.

"We're a state of a million people, yet we had 11 million people visit us last year and spend $3.6 million of their money," Garcia said. "We can't generate that internally, so that's new money, that's outside money that's coming in and circulating through our state."

Garcia said tourism alone supplies many jobs around the state.

"We're talking 48,000 jobs are supported in part or in whole by tourism, and that's about one in nine of all Montana workers, or anywhere from six to nine percent of total workforce in Montana," Garcia said.

Garcia said July tends to be the peak for tourism during the summer. So as people have more means to travel and gas prices now more affordable--he's not surprised consumers are spending more on their summer trips.

"It's right in the middle, it allows folks to prepare for their summer vacation at the beginning of summer, and also to recover from their summer vacation at the end of summer," Garcia said.

The Conference Board believes consumers' optimism about the future indicates the recent strengthening of the economy will continue in the second half of the year.


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