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: 

Overall economic sentiment fell during the first two weeks of February 2021, declining 0.3 points to a reading of 47.4, according to the HPS-CivicScience Economic Sentiment Index (ESI). As Congressional debates over additional stimulus continue, wariness about the overall U.S. economy outweighed Americans’ boost in confidence in their personal finances and the job market.

Three of the ESI’s five indicators declined over the past two weeks. Despite the Biden administration’s announcement of securing an additional 200 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, confidence in the U.S. economy fell the most, declining 1.1 points to 49.8, the lowest reading in 2021 and the first dip below 50 points since December 2020.

  • Two other indicators declined: Confidence in making a major purchase dropped by 0.3 points to 42.2.
  • Housing market confidence fell more significantly, dropping 0.9 points to 49.3.

Meanwhile, 49,000 jobs were gained in January, and Congress continues to debate the size and form of additional stimulus, which may partly explain why the final two indicators increased:

  • Job market confidence saw a slight uptick of 0.2 points to 41.2 points, the highest reading since October 2020.
  •  Confidence in personal finance increased by 0.6 points to 54.5.

Read the full report here.