Confidence Ticks Up As Consumers Bid Winter Adieu

Heading into spring, the HPS-CivicScience Economic Sentiment Index (ESI) inched upwards over the past two weeks. The Index rose 0.4 points from 49.6 to 50. This increase comes on the heels of a two-month drop from 53.3 to 49.6 and was driven by increases in confidence in making a major purchase and in personal finances. At 50, respondents were equally likely to say they were more confident than less, net those who said stay the same.

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Decline In Consumer Confidence Slows

The decline in the HPS-CivicScience Economic Sentiment Index (ESI) slowed after three consecutive drops, falling only 0.3 points from 49.9 to 49.6. In total, economic sentiment has dropped 3.1 points from the start of the year. Even with this sharp decline at the start of the year, the ESI remains well above last year’s average. The most recent drop follows a similar pattern over the same period last year in which we saw a steep decline at the beginning of the year that then leveled off and saw a strong gain at the end of March.

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Consumer Confidence Falls Again But Remains Above 2014 Trend

The HPS-CivicScience Economic Sentiment Index (ESI) dropped for the third straight two-week period, falling 1.3 points from 51.2 to 49.9. This recent dip erases much of the gains experienced in December and is echoed by a similar drop in the Michigan survey. At the same time, this dip comes off of the heels of a strong rally in the Fall of 2014, which brought the index to highs above the 50-point threshold. At 49.9, the ESI is still more than seven points higher than its level from a year ago and well over last year’s average. Further, while similar to the dip experienced in January of last year, the most recent drop is 0.6 points less than that of a year ago.

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Consumer Confidence Takes Another Post-Holiday Dip

For the second straight two-week period, the HPS-CivicScience Economic Sentiment Index (ESI) dipped slightly from 52.8 to 51.2, a drop of 1.6 points. This January slide parallels a similar drop last year when the ESI fell from 44.5 to 42.6, suggesting a possible seasonal fluctuation. Additionally, the boost from falling oil prices may have leveled off.  Yet overall, this slide comes after one of the strongest periods on record.  At 51.2, the ESI is higher than the yearly average from 2014 and is nearly nine points above its level this time last year.

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Consumer Confidence Dips Slightly

Following a sharp climb throughout December and the beginning of January, the HPS-CivicScience Economic Sentiment Index (ESI) dipped slightly from 53.3 to 52.8 over the last two weeks. The dip occurred on the heels of a strong growth period when the ESI jumped from 47.6 to 53.3. This time last year saw declines suggesting potential seasonal effects, but overall the index remains elevated. Of note, as we head into the Federal Reserve’s policy meetings today and tomorrow, confidence in finding a new job declined for the second reading in a row.

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Consumers Increasingly Confident And Appear More Willing To Spend

Consumer confidence continued its rise, albeit at a slower pace than December, with the HPS-CivicScience Economic Sentiment Index (ESI) increasing 0.4 points to 53.3. In particular, consumer confidence in making a major purchase increased sharply over the past two weeks on the heels of continued positive reports on the American economy. At 53.3, the ESI is now 9.6 points above its level from a year ago and 5.8 points above its level at the beginning of the fourth quarter.

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Consumer Confidence Surging As Year Ends

Consumer confidence continues to surge as 2014 winds to a close, jumping 2.5 points to 52.9 during the past two weeks, according to the latest data from the HPS-CivicScience Economic Sentiment Index. With strong jobs and GDP reports, declining oil prices, and the Dow closing above 18,000, consumer confidence has turned optimistic with confidence remaining above the 50-point threshold for the month of December. Further, confidence in the labor market spiked 4.3 points, which is the largest increase in the past 12-months. In total, the ESI jumped 5.3 points to 52.9 during the past month and is more than seven points higher than it was at this time last year.

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Consumers Turn More Optimistic As Confidence Soars Above 50

Consumers turned more optimistic over the past two weeks with confidence soaring above 50, nearly a three point jump. This is the highest the HPS-Civic Science Index has reported over the past two years, passing the previous high from May 2013 of 49.3. The recent gains coincide with the drop in oil prices, which were expected to lead to a bump in consumer confidence according to data highlighted in the previous release. The index has been steadily rising since March of this year, but particularly since September when the index broke away from its steady trend at 46 to approach 50.

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Consumer Confidence Dips, But Falling Oil Prices Expected To Boost Confidence

Consumer confidence dropped nearly two points, from 49.2 to 47.5, following a surge in the HPS-CivicScience Economic Sentiment Index (ESI) two weeks ago. Notably, the price of oil dropped below $70 a barrel at the start of the week in the wake of OPEC’s announcement that it will maintain current production levels. The sudden drop in prices follows nearly five months of declines. According to Goldman Sachs research, the drop in gas prices over the past six months is equal to a $75 billion tax cut.

Data from CivicScience lends support to the view that falling oil prices are boosting consumer confidence. Specifically, confidence has risen more than six points since October among those who are very concerned about gas prices. Conversely, confidence among those not concerned about gas prices at all has actually dipped during that time period. Meanwhile, confidence increased more than four points since October among those who are somewhat concerned about gas prices.

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Consumer Confidence In The National Economy Spikes

For the second week in a row, the HPS-CivicScience Economic Sentiment Index surged upward due to a 4.3 point rise in confidence in the national economy. In the last two weeks of October, consumer confidence surged up nearly two points to 48.3, and over the past two weeks it continued to increase by nearly a point to 49.2. At 49.2, consumer confidence is more than seven points above where it was this time last year and appears to have strong momentum going into the closely-watched holiday shopping season. Previously in the year, the index had been fairly steady, holding around 46 since March.

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