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:
Economic sentiment continued its steady climb over the past two weeks, increasing for the third straight reading. The HPS-CivicScience Economic Sentiment Index (ESI) jumped up 0.8 points to 51.3, driven largely by a boost in confidence in the job market and the U.S. economy. This reading is the third-highest for the U.S. economy indicator in the ESI’s history. The ESI has now risen 4.7 points since August 18.
Four of the ESI’s five indicators rose this week, with confidence in the job market rising the most with an increase of 2.5 points. The job market indicator now sits at 43.4, tying its level on March 3 and reaching levels that were sustained before the onset of the pandemic. Confidence in the U.S. economy also rose substantially, increasing 1.7 points to 55.8. Confidence in personal finances and the housing markets also rose by 1.4 and 1.1 points, respectively. Confidence in making a major purchase was the sole indicator to decline, dropping 2.6 points to 46.0. This reverses course from its surge during the last reading.
The sustained growth in confidence comes as the U.S. surpassed the grave milestone of 200,000 deaths due to COVID-19 and more than 1 million deaths have been recorded globally. Despite Democrats and Republicans unveiling new curtailed COVID-stimulus packages, the likelihood of Congressional action remains low as the Senate prepares for the Supreme Court nomination process. New data also points to a slowing of the job market as jobless claims remained steady in September at just under 900,000 a week. The job postings on Indeed for the highest-paying jobs on the site are down 24%, with low-wage and middle-wage jobs down 12% and 18%, respectively. The housing market has, however, continued to boom as U.S. existing home sales surged to their highest level in nearly 14 years, setting a new record for average home price.