Economic sentiment improved slightly over the past two weeks, marking the fourth increase in the last five readings. The HPS-CivicScience Economic Sentiment Index (ESI) increased 1.7 points to 41.3, on the back of a substantial bump to close out January.

Four of the ESI’s five indicators rose over the past two weeks. The greatest bump was to confidence in making a major purchase, which recovered 2.1 points to 28.3. This was balanced by a 1.8 point drop in confidence in personal finances, to 55.7. COVID case rates began to decline following an Omicron-related spike around the holiday season, and businesses are responding by beginning to re-open their offices once again for in-person work. This closed out a month of heightened market volatility in January 2022, marking the stock market’s worst monthly performance since March 2020.

Here is how the ESI’s other indicators moved over the past two weeks:

– Confidence in finding a new job rose 0.6 points to 55.5

– Confidence in the overall U.S. economy rose 0.3 points to 39.1

– Confidence in the housing market rose 0.3 points to 28.2

See the full report here.