Economic Sentiment Posts An Optimistic Start To 2021

January 6, 2021
5 min read

As Americans say goodbye to the difficult year that was 2020 and ring in the New Year, consumers are expressing heightened confidence in 2021’s first reading of the HPS-CivicScience Economic Sentiment Index (ESI). Economic sentiment continued its month-long upward trend, posting an increase (1.4 points to 48.3) for the third straight reading following the enactment of a second COVID-19 relief bill and continued deployment of a COVID vaccine.

Four of the five individual indicators rose during the two-week reading period. The largest increase was in confidence in the job market, which rose 2.7 points to 41.1. Confidence in the labor market has now risen 6.3 points over the past month, despite November’s stagnant jobs report and persistently high weekly unemployment claims. The consumer-centric indicators also received steady bumps, as confidence in making a major purchase and personal finances rose 2.5 and 1.7 points, respectively. Confidence in the overall U.S. economy followed last reading’s substantial increase with a muted, 0.4-point jump, entering 2021 at 50.7. 2020’s hottest indicator, the housing market, was the sole indicator to decline, falling by 0.3 points to 49.0.

The reading’s increase moves the ESI to confidence levels not seen since October and follows on the heels of the enactment of a $900B COVID-19 relief bill. The U.S. continued its vaccine rollout over the holidays, but two issues may impact future readings. Vaccine deployment delays across the country have stoked concerns about a slower pace of vaccination that could prolong the impact of the pandemic. Those concerns were exacerbated by the news that December was the deadliest month of the pandemic, as over 77,000 people lost their lives in the U.S. and experts remain worried that January may also be difficult following a holiday surge and the potential spread of a more contagious COVID-19 variant.

The ESI’s three-day moving average fluctuated heavily over the past two weeks, beginning at 48.0 before dropping to its reading low of 46.4 on December 26. The moving average then steadily increased, peaking at 51.7 on January 2 before falling significantly to close the reading at 46.9.

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 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.

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