Consumer Confidence Surges, But Jobs Outlook Still Lags Broader Index
Today, Hamilton Place Strategies and CivicScience reported that the HPS-CivicScience Economic Sentiment Index (ESI) 3-day rolling average rose to 47.6 over the past two weeks, a four-week high. Moreover, the two-week average of the index, which measures U.S. adults’ expectations for the economy going forward, as well as their feelings about current conditions for major purchases, rose more than eight full points since the government shutdown and is now back to levels not seen since the summer. These gains come in the wake of a strong December jobs report, which has spurred discussion that the Federal Reserve may begin to scale back its quantitative easing program.
Yet, while the rate of increase in the consumer confidence is high, consumer confidence levels are still below those sustained during the Spring when taper talk first occurred earlier this year.
Further, the overall reading of the index masks continued weakness in the jobs outlook among respondents. Excluding views on the labor market and focusing solely on the expectations for the economy going forward, as well as feelings about current conditions for major purchases, the index is currently at 48.8. However, the labor market component of the index is only 33.9.
Note: Labor market questions is, “Over the next 6 months, do you think it will become easier or more difficult to find a new job?” vs. ESI
While confidence in the labor market remains below other components of the index, its recent improvements are broadly shared among both employed and unemployed and among all income and age levels. In fact, confidence in the labor market for respondents making less than $50,000 is back around 2013 highs.
The next release of the ESI will be Tuesday, December 31st.
About the Index
The HPS-CivicScience Economic Sentiment Index (“ESI”) 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.
About Hamilton Place Strategies (HPS)
Hamilton Place Strategies is a policy, advocacy, and communications consulting firm with a focus and expertise at the intersection of government, business, and media.
CivicScience is a next-generation polling and data mining company. The company partners with hundreds of premier websites to survey millions of people every week. Proprietary technology then rapidly analyzes consumer opinion, discovers trends in real-time, and accurately predicts market outcomes. CivicScience is used by leading enterprises in an array of industries including marketing research, advertising, digital media, financial services, and political polling.