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 fell 1.1 points to 50.3, according to the HPS-CivicScience Economic Sentiment Index (ESI). The decline comes on the heels of a month-long surge in confidence that peaked on March 16 with the highest reading since the pandemic declaration. The decline was driven by significant drops in confidence toward the U.S. economy and the housing market.  

Three of the ESI indicators declined over the past two weeks despite increasing rates of vaccinationsimplementation of the American Rescue Plan, and extension of the Paycheck Protection Program. As COVID-19 cases began to tick upwards over the past two weeks, confidence in the U.S. economy experienced a sharp decline, falling 2.8 points to 53.8. Meanwhile, ahead of what many experts expect to be a strong March jobs report, confidence in the job market continued to spike, rising 1.9 points to 47.5. This is the reading’s highest level since 2019, and a divergence from the other economic indicators.

The other indicators experienced the following movement:

– Confidence in the housing market declined sharply, falling 3.1 points to 47.0, its lowest level since April 2020.

– Confidence in personal finances fell 1.7 points to 58.3, retreating from its record-high reading.

– Consumer confidence in making a major purchase rose 0.5 points to 45.1, a new high for 2021.

Read the full report here.