Economic Sentiment Hits New Record Low

Economic sentiment continued to fall over the past two weeks amid concerns about inflation and the economic impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The HPS-CivicScience Economic Sentiment Index (ESI) dropped 1.8 points to 36.3, its lowest recorded reading since it began measuring economic sentiment in 2013.

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All five ESI indicators fell for the second consecutive reading, with three indicators reaching their all-time lows:

— Confidence in the overall U.S. economy dropped 2.7 points to 31.6

— Confidence in making a major purchase fell 2.5 points to 21.3

— Confidence in purchasing a new home fell 0.6 points to 24.6

Confidence in personal finances experienced the biggest drop, falling 2.9 points to 52.3, while confidence in finding a new job fell 0.5 points to 51.6.

The Ukraine-Russia conflict continues to dominate headlines, as Western-imposed sanctions on Putin’s regime threaten to further disrupt supply chains and increase global commodity prices. Russia accounts for 14% of coal, 7.5% of iron and steel, 28% of nickel, and 10% of aluminum worldwide exports. President Biden announced the United States will cut off oil imports from Russia, generating concerns over the cost of energy and increased inflationary pressure.

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The ESI’s three-day moving average began this two-week stretch at 38.7 on March 2. It hit its two-week low of 33.5 on March 13 and closed the session at 36.1 on March 15.

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The next release of the ESI will be Wednesday, March 30, 2022.