Half of North Carolinians say bank failures will increase inflation

Published May 4, 2023

By High Point University Poll

In a new High Point University Poll, a majority of North Carolinians (54%) think recent bank failures will increase inflation. About one in five (21%) say the recent bank failures will not have much effect at all on inflation. Only 5% think that it will decrease inflation and another 21% did not offer an opinion.

About half (51%) of North Carolinians say the inflation of the past few months has been worse than they expected. About one-third (29%) say inflation has been about as they expected, and only 16% say inflation is not as bad as expected.

Graphic shows Inflation Expectations

Approximately half (51%) of North Carolina residents responding to the survey say inflation concerns affect a lot of their spending decisions. About one-third (33%) say inflation concerns affect some of their spending decisions, and only 13% say inflation concerns haven’t affected them much at all.

“North Carolinians are clearly concerned about both inflation and bank failures,” said Peter Summers, associate professor of economics. “However, it’s likely that the recent turmoil in the banking sector will cause inflation to be lower than otherwise, not higher. This is because banks are likely to make fewer loans and raise their lending standards to avoid risk. That would tend to lower spending and put downward pressure on prices.”

When asked if they think now is a good time or a bad time for people to invest in cryptocurrency, about two in five (42%) think it’s a bad time to make such an investment. Other poll respondents think it’s a good time (20%) or neither a good time nor a bad time (15%). Another 23% didn’t offer an opinion either way.

Graphic shows Inflation and Spending

North Carolinians were also asked to consider how the prices they are currently paying for products compare to last year. The majority said prices are much higher for eggs (67%), meat (57%) and gas for their cars (54%). Less than half of the poll respondents said they are paying a much higher price for milk (43%), fruits and vegetables (42%), bread (40%), natural gas (39%), electronics (36%), clothing (32%), water (29%) and toys (25%).

Almost two-thirds (64%) of North Carolinians say they haven’t canceled any health care appointments because they thought the costs would be too high. And a majority (57%) also say they haven’t delayed health care services in the past year out of fear of high prices.

According to the latest poll, the Consumer Sentiment Index shows that North Carolinians’ opinions about the economy and their personal finances remain low, recorded at 63.9. That number has decreased slightly from when the HPU Poll last reported an index of 66.4 from an earlier March 2023 poll.


Graphic shows Consumer Sentiment Index data

"Consumer sentiment is largely affected by macroeconomic conditions,” said Dr. Gerald Fox, chair of the Economics Department and associate professor of economics. “The slowly declining inflation in the economy has a positive influence on consumer attitudes. However, this can be offset by concerns about higher interest rates and recessionary fears.”

The HPU Poll’s measure of consumer sentiment is an index that comprises five separate questions asking respondents about different aspects of how they view the U.S. economy and their own personal finances.

“The HPU Poll tracks how North Carolinians feel about their own finances and the current economic climate,” said Brian McDonald, associate director of the HPU Poll and adjunct instructor. “The most recent HPU Poll tracks consumer sentiment in North Carolina decreasing slightly.”

March 2023 Consumer Sentiment Index Results:

We are interested in how people are getting along financially these days. Would you say that you (and your family living there) are better off or worse off financially than you were a year ago?

Better Off – 21%
Worse Off – 48%
Same/Neither – 29%
Unsure – 2%

Now looking ahead, do you think that a year from now you (and your family living there) will be better off financially, or worse off, or just about the same as now.

Better Off – 30%
Worse Off – 30%
About the same – 33%
Unsure – 7%

Now turning to business conditions in the country as a whole, do you think that during the next 12 months we’ll have good times financially, or bad times, or what?

Good Times – 15%
Bad Times – 34%
Neither – 26%
Good times with qualifications – 9%
Bad times with qualifications – 8%
Unsure – 8%

Looking ahead, which would you say is more likely, that in the country as a whole we’ll have continuous good times during the next five years or so, or that we have periods of widespread unemployment or depression, or what?

Widespread unemployment or depression – 27%
Continuous good times – 13%
Neither/Mix of both – 52%
Unsure – 8%

About the big things people buy for their homes, such as furniture, a refrigerator, stove, television, and things like that. Generally speaking, do you think now is a good time or bad time for people to buy major household items?

Good time – 21%
Bad time – 41%
Neither – 28%
Unsure – 10%

NC residents – Cryptocurrency (March 2023)

Generally speaking, do you think now is a good time or a bad time for people to invest in cryptocurrency?

Good time – 20%
Bad time – 42%
Neither a good time nor a bad time – 15%
Unsure – 23%

NC residents – Prices Currently Paying (March 2023)

Thinking about the prices you are currently paying for products on this list compared to last year, would you say prices are much higher, somewhat higher, about the same as last year, somewhat lower, or much lower?
All Adults
  Much higher price Somewhat higher price About the same Somewhat lower Much lower Unsure or don’t buy
Eggs 67 22 7 2 1 2
Meat 57 29 7 2 1 3
Gas for your car 54 25 12 4 2 3
Milk 43 35 14 2 1 5
Fruits and vegetables 42 39 11 3 1 3
Bread 40 38 15 2 1 3
Natural gas 39 25 11 3 1 21
Electronics 36 33 19 2 1 10
Clothing 32 39 21 2 1 5
Water 29 32 28 2 1 8
Toys 25 28 15 2 1 29

NC residents – Inflation and Spending Decisions (March 2023)

How much have concerns about inflation affected major spending decisions you have made in the new year?

A lot – 51%

Some – 33%

Not much at all – 13%

Unsure – 4%

NC residents – Inflation Expectations (March 2023)

 Generally speaking, has the inflation we have seen over the past few months been worse than you expected, not as bad as you expected, or about what you expected?

Worse than expected – 51%

Not as bad as expected – 16%

About as expected – 29%

Unsure – 6%

NC residents – Bank Failures (March 2023)

Do you think that recent bank failures will increase inflation, decrease inflation, or not have much effect at all on inflation?

Increase inflation – 54%

Not have much effect at all on inflation – 21%

Decrease inflation – 5%

Unsure – 21%

NC residents – Inflation and Health Care Appointments (March 2023)

In the past year, have you cancelled any health care appointments because you thought the costs would be too high?

Yes – 30%

No – 64%

Unsure – 6%

NC residents – Inflation and Delayed Services (March 2023)

 In the past year, have you delayed any health care services because you thought the costs would be too high?

Yes – 38%

No – 57%

Unsure – 5%

 The most recent HPU Poll of 1,004 respondents was fielded by the High Point University Survey Research Center on March 23 through March 28, as an online survey using a panel of respondents recruited and maintained by Dynata. Dynata sent invitations to its panel of N.C. respondents and the SRC collected responses on its Qualtrics platform. The SRC did all data analysis. The online sample is from a panel of respondents, and their participation does not adhere to usual assumptions associated with random selection. Therefore, it is not appropriate to assign a classic margin of sampling error for the results. In this case, the SRC provides a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.2 percentage points to account for a traditional 95% confidence interval for the estimates (plus or minus 3.1 percentage points) and a design effect of 1.1 (based on the weighting). The data is weighed toward population estimates for age, gender, race/ethnicity and education based on U.S. Census numbers for North Carolina. Factors such as question wording and other methodological choices in conducting survey research can introduce additional errors into the findings of opinion polls.

Dr. Martin Kifer, chair and associate professor of political science, serves as the director of the HPU Poll, and Brian McDonald is the associate director of the HPU Poll.