The Microsoft-CivicScience Economic Sentiment Index powered by HPS (“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 Microsoft-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.

Latest ESI Reading

For the fifth reading in a row, consumer confidence continued to increase, according to the Microsoft News-CivicScience Economic Sentiment Index (ESI). Confidence accelerated its climb, rising by 1.1 points to finish out 2019 at 53.2 The reading was driven by a 3.9-point increase in consumers’ confidence in personal finance as consumers feel more financially secure heading into 2020.

Five indicators
Three of the ESI’s five indicators increased during the reading period. Consumer confidence in personal finance increased the most, rising by 3.9 points to 67.1, its highest level in 2019. Confidence in the U.S. economy and the housing market both rose, increasing by 2.4 and 0.1 points respectively. Consumer sentiment toward making a major purchase fell from the last reading’s large rise, decreasing by 0.7 points. Confidence in the job market also decreased, falling by 0.3 points to 44.4.
The increase in consumer sentiment comes amid a holiday season that has delivered more than just presents under the tree when it comes to trade. Over the past two weeks, China and the United States have agreed to a Phase One trade deal and the House of Representatives reached a bipartisan agreement to pass the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Simultaneously, the Federal Reserve chose to leave interest rates unchanged, indicating that they may not change rates in 2020.

Read the full report here.