In 2018 Q3, ANCi was up again, landing above the index reading from 2014 Q4. The index was 59.3, up 2.1 points from last quarter and up more than 10 points from a year ago. The index is strongly above the 50 level, an important level signifying the boundary between optimism and pessimism. The more stable six-month moving average of the index rose to 58.2, bringing us back to match the reading from 2015 Q1.

During the same time, U.S. consumer confidence also increased. The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index® rose 8.9 points from June to September, while the University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index rose 1.9 points. The Consumer Confidence IndexTM showed an increase in the present situation as well as consumers’ expectations for the future, though the Consumer Sentiment Index showed a 1 percent decline in current economic conditions.

Fiscal concerns remain at the state level, and a lot will depend on the outcome of the election in November.1 However, strong oil prices and hints at the end of the recession have allowed optimism to return. In Q3 each year, Alaskans learn the amount of the October Permanent Fund Dividend payment. This year the amount was the third highest of the last 10 years. While this did not affect respondents’ confidence about their personal financial situations, it was likely a factor in another quarter of strong growth in future expectations.