Gail Zurek said consumer confidence remains a critical – yet fragile – component of the nation's economic health.
"While job numbers nationally show a decreasing number of unemployed, regionally hiring is perceived as slow," Zurek said. "The lack of perceived mobility or access to increase income more coupled with rising prices both at the pump and in the grocery store has caused many consumers to halt extra spending."
She said there may be hope for improvement once the current election cycle wraps up and people complete their year-end holiday spending.
Another blow to confidence for local consumers are the notable scams and developments that have hurt the pocketbooks of people in the region. She said consumers are increasingly cautious as a result of longstanding businesses closing without warning, increasingly complex email and text message scams, and get-rich-quick schemes posing as business opportunities.