Finance

Consumer Confidence Holds Steady Heading Into March

Image Credit: Unsplash: Anna Dziubinska

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.

Excerpt From the Latest Reading: 

Consumer confidence ticked up slightly over the past two weeks, according to the HPS-CivicScience Economic Sentiment Index (ESI). Following December’s precipitous drop and the ESI’s modest recovery throughout 2019 so far, during the latest reading consumer confidence increased by a mere 0.1 points to 51.5.

Three out of the ESI’s five indicators increased during the reading. The largest increase was consumer confidence in making a major purchase, which rose by 1.3 points to a reading of 53.2. Consumer confidence in the broader U.S. economy increased from 46.9 to 47.4 points. Economic sentiment toward the housing market also rose slightly, moving up by 0.3 points. Confidence in the labor market and personal finances both fell, dropping by 0.8 points and 0.5 points, respectively.

The steadiness of the ESI came as Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell noted in a recent testimony on Capitol Hill that the economy is “in a good place” and that potential risks to growth have led the Fed to remain patient in its approach to deciding when to raise interest rates.

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