The HPS-CivicScience Economic Sentiment Index (ESI) continued to dive over the past two weeks, dropping 2.4 points to 48.6. This is the lowest reading since November 15, 2016. The ESI has now fallen 4.6 points in December and sits 4.4 points below the 2018 average and 7 points off the 2018 peak. The drop in consumer confidence this month coincides with a nearly 15 percent decline in the S&P 500.
Confidence fell across all five components of the ESI. Of note, confidence in making a major purchase and finding a new job fell more than 4 points. Confidence in the U.S. economy fell another 2.7 points after a 3.5 drop in the previous two weeks. Each of these three components are now roughly 6 points below their 2018 averages. Moreover, confidence in the U.S. economy is at levels not seen since October 2016. Confidence in buying a new home and in personal finances also dipped, but remain less than 2 points off their 2018 averages. The three-day moving average consistently declined in the first half of December. During the past two weeks, it plateaued at 49 only to then fall 2.5 points over the weekend through December 25th.