HPS Analysis

ESI: Economic Sentiment Nears Historic Low Set At Start Of Pandemic

Economic sentiment continued its decline over the past two weeks, with consumers expressing a particular lack of confidence in the overall U.S. economy. The HPS-CivicScience Economic Sentiment Index (ESI) dropped 0.4 points to 42.5, nudging closer to the all-time low of 40.1 reached in March 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States.

Of the ESI’s five indicators, confidence in the overall U.S. economy fell the most over the past two weeks, dropping 2.5 points to 38.0—down 18.6 points from the 2021 high reached in March. The drop comes as the Delta variant continues to make its presence felt nationally and globally. Restaurant dining, office occupancy, and airline travel all saw declines in recent weeks compared to earlier this summer. Concerns about inflation, meanwhile, show no signs of letting up: The PCE Index was up 4.2% in the 12 months ended July 2021, the highest rate since 1991. The ESI’s other indicators made the following moves:

– Confidence in personal finances dropped 1.7 points to 55.3

– Confidence in making a major purchase dropped 0.8 points to 3.7

– Confidence in the housing market rose 2.1 points to 30.4 but remains near all-time lows

– Confidence in finding a new job rose 0.5 points to 57.0

The ESI’s three-day moving average began the two-week stretch on August 18 at 42.4. It remained fairly stable before reaching its two-week low of 41.3 on August 24. Then it recovered and closed out the week at its high of 43.6 on August 31.

About the Index

The HPS-CivicScience Economic Sentiment Index (“ESI”) is a “living” index that measures U.S. adults’ expectations for the economy going forward, as well as their feelings about current conditions for major purchases. The primary goal of the Index is to accurately measure movements in overall national economic sentiment and to provide a more sophisticated alternative to existing economic sentiment indices. Unlike other prominent indices that release consumer sentiment estimates infrequently, the HPS-CivicScience Index is updated in real time as responses are collected continuously every hour, every day. Large-scale cross-tabulation of survey responses and consumer attributes enable more granular analyses than are currently possible through prevailing measures. For a more detailed overview of the Index and the underlying methodology, please request a white paper.

About CivicScience

CivicScience, Inc. provides the leading intelligent polling and real-time consumer insights platform, the InsightStore™. Its proprietary platform powers the world’s opinions and quickly gets that data to the decision makers who care. Every day, CivicScience polls ask millions of people questions related to thousands of topics, while its powerful data science and big data technology analyzes current consumer opinions, discovers trends as they start, and accurately predicts future behaviors and market outcomes. CivicScience polls run on hundreds of premier websites, in addition to its own public polling site at www.civicscience.com. CivicScience’s InsightStore™ is used by leading enterprises in marketing research, advertising, media, financial services, and political polling. For more information, visit CivicScience by clicking here and follow them on Twitter – @CivicScience.

More Insights