On Wednesday, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell raised interest rates by a half-percentage point, keeping with the Fed’s approach to a grim inflation forecast for much of the past year. But this time, it comes on the heels of more positive recent numbers for gas and energy prices, the stock market, and inflation more generally. The Dow Jones Industrial Average responded in kind on Thursday, plunging nearly 900 points at the time of writing.
CivicScience is constantly tracking consumer attitudes toward inflation, and while this quarter has shown less serious concern than previous peaks earlier this year, it is currently inching up. After dropping under 50% the week after the midterm elections, the percentage of adults who claim to be ‘very concerned’ about inflation sits at 56% this week. (In June, 63% of Americans said they were ‘very concerned’ about inflation, compared to its 52% monthly aggregate through December thus far.)
Americans’ economic and political sentiments more broadly have proven to be closely correlated to the price of gas, and our latest data is no exception. Forty-five percent of U.S. adults rate themselves ‘very concerned’ about gas and energy prices this week, which is just a hair higher than the Q4 low-point of 43% it reached last week. It all tracks with the Penta-CivicScience Economic Sentiment Index (ESI) recording its largest surge since July on last week’s reading, so consumer concerns and the Fed’s rate hikes aren’t exactly in-sync.
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