Economic Sentiment Declines As The Country Faces A “Third Wave”

Consumer economic sentiment saw its first decline in over two months as the country experiences an uptick in new COVID-19 cases, averaging 71,000 new cases a day over the past week. The latest reading of the HPS-CivicScience Economic Sentiment Index (ESI) declined 1.3 points to 50.0, marking its first drop in confidence since August 18 and mirroring the month-long decline beginning in late June as the nation experienced a COVID “summer surge.”


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In the last reading before Election Day, four of the ESI’s five individual indicators fell during the two-week reading period. The largest decline was a 2.8 point drop in confidence toward the housing market, falling to 52.8, its lowest reading since May. Following close behind was a 2.0 drop in the job market, which is now 3.4 points below its September high of 43.4. Confidence in making a major purchase and in personal finances also fell, declining by 1.3 and 1.0 points, respectively. Confidence in the U.S. economy was the sole indicator to rise during the reading, increasing 0.7 points to 54.8, continuing the trend of a significant divergence of confidence in the economy compared to the job market.

The decline in confidence over the past two weeks comes as the rise in new virus cases has many experts concerned the country is entering a third wave of the COVID outbreak heading into the winter months, with states in the Midwest and Mountain West bearing the brunt of the increase. Congressional deadlock over a new round of stimulus funding and rising case levels are helping drive market uncertainty and inching the nation closer to the expiration of enhanced programs for unemployed workers in December.


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The ESI’s three-day moving average began the two-week stretch at 49.8, rising to its two-week high of 51.5 on October 18. The moving average fell to its low of 48.6 on October 22 before closing out the reading with a period of significant fluctuation, ending at 50.0.


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The next release of the ESI will be on Wednesday, November 11, 2020.

About the Index

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.

For a more detailed overview of the Index and the underlying methodology, please request a white paper, and follow us on Twitter – @HPS_CS.

About Hamilton Place Strategies (HPS)

Hamilton Place Strategies (HPS) is an analytical public affairs consulting firm with offices in Washington, D.C. New York, and California. We integrate substantive analysis with communications and believe a deep understanding of business and economics leads to more effective public engagement and better outcomes for our clients.

For more information, visit Hamilton Place Strategies by clicking here and follow them on Twitter – @HPSInsight.

About CivicScience

CivicScience, Inc. provides the leading intelligent polling and real-time consumer insights platform, the InsightStore™. Its proprietary platform powers the world’s opinions and quickly gets that data to the decision makers who care. Every day, CivicScience polls ask millions of people questions related to thousands of topics, while its powerful data science and big data technology analyzes current consumer opinions, discovers trends as they start, and accurately predicts future behaviors and market outcomes. CivicScience polls run on hundreds of premier websites, in addition to its own public polling site at www.civicscience.com. CivicScience’s InsightStore™ is used by leading enterprises in marketing research, advertising, media, financial services, and political polling. For more information, visit CivicScience by clicking here and follow them on Twitter – @CivicScience.

Economic Sentiment Steady After Turbulent Two Weeks

Overall economic sentiment held steady over the course of a turbulent early October. After a two-week stretch during which the President contracted COVID-19, the odds of a Democratic electoral sweep grew, and the prospects of renewed economic stimulus were revived, the HPS-CivicScience Economic Sentiment Index (ESI) hung on at 51.5.


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Though overall economic sentiment posted no changes over the past two weeks, the ESI’s five indicators did make moves. Making the biggest gain was confidence in personal finances, which rose 2.1 points to 58.2. Also rising were confidence in making a major purchase (up 0.7 points to 46.7) and confidence in the housing market (up 0.5 points to 55.6). Weighing these improvements down were decreases in the ESI’s remaining two indicators: confidence in the overall US economy declined 1.7 points, to 54.1, while confidence in finding a new job dropped 1.4 points, to 42.0. The latest reading marks the first time these two indicators have dropped since early July.

Politics dominated the headlines over the two-week period, notably the news that President Trump contracted, and was subsequently hospitalized for, COVID-19. The period also saw the President’s Democratic challenger, Joe Biden, build out his national and swing-state lead in the polls, with heightened expectations for a Democratic sweep of the presidency and both houses of Congress. In a move that may have a direct impact on Americans’ wallets, the President reversed course and endorsed another round of economic stimulus including $1,200 checks. Heightened expectations for stimulus pushed stocks to their best week since July.


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The ESI’s three-day moving average began the two-week stretch at 52.7, rising to its two-week high of 53.5 on October 2, before beginning a gradual decline. The moving average spiked briefly on October 6—the day the President signaled his support for a new round of economic stimulus—before falling to its two-week low of 48.8 on October 12, and then closing out the two-week stretch at 48.9.


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The next release of the ESI will be on Wednesday, October 28, 2020.

About the Index

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.

For a more detailed overview of the Index and the underlying methodology, please request a white paper, and follow us on Twitter – @HPS_CS.

About Hamilton Place Strategies (HPS)

Hamilton Place Strategies (HPS) is an analytical public affairs consulting firm with offices in Washington, D.C. New York, and California. We integrate substantive analysis with communications and believe a deep understanding of business and economics leads to more effective public engagement and better outcomes for our clients.

For more information, visit Hamilton Place Strategies by clicking here and follow them on Twitter – @HPSInsight.

About CivicScience

CivicScience, Inc. provides the leading intelligent polling and real-time consumer insights platform, the InsightStore™. Its proprietary platform powers the world’s opinions and quickly gets that data to the decision makers who care. Every day, CivicScience polls ask millions of people questions related to thousands of topics, while its powerful data science and big data technology analyzes current consumer opinions, discovers trends as they start, and accurately predicts future behaviors and market outcomes. CivicScience polls run on hundreds of premier websites, in addition to its own public polling site at www.civicscience.com. CivicScience’s InsightStore™ is used by leading enterprises in marketing research, advertising, media, financial services, and political polling. For more information, visit CivicScience by clicking here and follow them on Twitter – @CivicScience.

Economic Sentiment Chugs Upwards For The Third Straight Reading

Economic sentiment continued its steady climb over the past two weeks, increasing for the third straight reading. The HPS-CivicScience Economic Sentiment Index (ESI) jumped up 0.8 points to 51.3, driven largely by a boost in confidence in the job market and the U.S. economy. This reading is the third highest for the U.S. economy indicator in the ESI’s history. The ESI has now risen 4.7 points since August 18.


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Four of the ESI’s five indicators rose this week, with confidence in the job market rising the most with an increase of 2.5 points. The job market indicator now sits at 43.4, tying its level on March 3 and reaching levels that were sustained before the onset of the pandemic. Confidence in the U.S. economy also rose substantially, increasing 1.7 points to 55.8. Confidence in personal finances and the housing markets also rose by 1.4 and 1.1 points, respectively. Confidence in making a major purchase was the sole indicator to decline, dropping 2.6 points to 46.0. This reverses course from its surge during the last reading.

The sustained growth in confidence comes as the U.S. surpassed the grave milestone of 200,000 deaths due to COVID-19 and more than 1 million deaths have been recorded globally. Despite Democrats and Republicans unveiling new curtailed COVID-stimulus packages, the likelihood of Congressional action remains low as the Senate prepares for the Supreme Court nomination process. New data also points to a slowing of the job market as jobless claims remained steady in September at just under 900,000 a week. The job postings on Indeed for the highest-paying jobs on the site are down 24%, with low-wage and middle-wage jobs down 12% and 18%, respectively. The housing market has, however, continued to boom as U.S. existing home sales surged to their highest level in nearly 14 years, setting a new record for average home price.


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The ESI’s three-day moving average began the two-week stretch at 50.6 and peaked on September 18 and 19 at 53.5, before falling to its low of 48.9 on September 21. It then had a sporadic climb to close the two-week stretch at 52.0.


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The next release of the ESI will be on Wednesday, October 14, 2020.

About the Index

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.

For a more detailed overview of the Index and the underlying methodology, please request a white paper, and follow us on Twitter – @HPS_CS.

About Hamilton Place Strategies (HPS)

Hamilton Place Strategies (HPS) is an analytical public affairs consulting firm with offices in Washington, D.C. New York, and California. We integrate substantive analysis with communications and believe a deep understanding of business and economics leads to more effective public engagement and better outcomes for our clients.

For more information, visit Hamilton Place Strategies by clicking here and follow them on Twitter – @HPSInsight.

About CivicScience

CivicScience, Inc. provides the leading intelligent polling and real-time consumer insights platform, the InsightStore™. Its proprietary platform powers the world’s opinions and quickly gets that data to the decision makers who care. Every day, CivicScience polls ask millions of people questions related to thousands of topics, while its powerful data science and big data technology analyzes current consumer opinions, discovers trends as they start, and accurately predicts future behaviors and market outcomes. CivicScience polls run on hundreds of premier websites, in addition to its own public polling site at www.civicscience.com. CivicScience’s InsightStore™ is used by leading enterprises in marketing research, advertising, media, financial services, and political polling. For more information, visit CivicScience by clicking here and follow them on Twitter – @CivicScience.

Economic Sentiment Continues Rally, Posts Modest Increase

Economic sentiment posted a modest increase over the past two weeks, following a significant spike in late August. The HPS-CivicScience Economic Sentiment Index (ESI) inched upwards by 0.5 points to 50.5, driven largely by a boost in confidence in making a major purchase.


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The ESI’s five indicators posted somewhat differing results over the past two weeks. The biggest gain was in confidence in making a major purchase, which rose 2.2 points to 48.6. Also rising were confidence in the overall US economy (up 1.3 points to 54.1) and confidence in finding a new job (up 0.5 points to 40.9). Weighing the index down were slight declines in the ESI’s two other indicators: confidence in the housing market decreased by 1.2 points to 54.0, while confidence in personal finances declined 0.7 points to 54.7.

The slight uptick in sentiment comes on the heels of mixed economic news. August’s strong jobs data, released on September 4, showed the addition of 1.4 million jobs and a decline in the US unemployment rate to 8.4% from 10.2% in July. Overall US COVID-19 infection rates continue to drop from their summer peak. Stocks, however, were erratic over the two-week period. After the best August since 1986, stocks posted declines in the first weeks of September; the Nasdaq, for example, fell 4.1 percent between September 4 and September 11, its worst week since March. The housing market, meanwhile, faces pressures from record-high lumber prices, which are adding $16,000 on average to the price of a new home, according to the National Association of Home Builders.


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The ESI’s three-day moving average began the two-week stretch at 51.9, falling to its low of 48.7 on September 6 before hitting its two-week peak of 52.0 and closing out the period at 49.7.


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The next release of the ESI will be on Wednesday, September 30, 2020.

About the Index

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.

For a more detailed overview of the Index and the underlying methodology, please request a white paper, and follow us on Twitter – @HPS_CS.

About Hamilton Place Strategies (HPS)

Hamilton Place Strategies (HPS) is an analytical public affairs consulting firm with offices in Washington, D.C. New York, and California. We integrate substantive analysis with communications and believe a deep understanding of business and economics leads to more effective public engagement and better outcomes for our clients.

For more information, visit Hamilton Place Strategies by clicking here and follow them on Twitter – @HPSInsight.

About CivicScience

CivicScience, Inc. provides the leading intelligent polling and real-time consumer insights platform, the InsightStore™. Its proprietary platform powers the world’s opinions and quickly gets that data to the decision makers who care. Every day, CivicScience polls ask millions of people questions related to thousands of topics, while its powerful data science and big data technology analyzes current consumer opinions, discovers trends as they start, and accurately predicts future behaviors and market outcomes. CivicScience polls run on hundreds of premier websites, in addition to its own public polling site at www.civicscience.com. CivicScience’s InsightStore™ is used by leading enterprises in marketing research, advertising, media, financial services, and political polling. For more information, visit CivicScience by clicking here and follow them on Twitter – @CivicScience.

Economic Sentiment Closes Out The Summer With Massive Uptick

After several months of fluctuations, economic sentiment saw a significant improvement over the past two weeks, climbing back to early March levels when the economy began to shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The HPS-CivicScience Economic Sentiment Index (ESI) jumped by 3.4 points to reach 50.0, driven by an even larger increase in confidence in the broader U.S. economy and labor market.


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All five of the ESI’s indicators improved over the past two weeks. Confidence in the broader U.S. economy led the way with a 6.6-point jump to 52.8. Consumer sentiment towards the labor market followed closely behind, with an increase of 4.8 points to 40.4. Confidence in making a major purchase neared its late-March 2020 level, climbing 3.3 points to hit 46.4. With smaller improvements, confidence in personal finances and the housing market rose by 1.6 and 1.1. points, respectively. Unlike the other indicators, however, confidence in personal finances and the labor market have yet to reach their pre-pandemic levels.

The upturn in sentiment comes after a busy month and some shifts in economic indicators. While Americans are seeing an overall decline in new COVID-19 cases nationwide and businesses begin to reopen, many Midwestern states are seeing a large spike in cases. August also brought an incredibly strong stock market, with the S&P 500 scoring its best August since 1986. Despite many Americans’ attention shifting this month toward the future due to presidential conventions and the upcoming election, experts remain worried about the uneven economic recovery occurring in the U.S. due to varied state responses and setbacks with the pandemic.


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The ESI’s three-day moving average remained relatively flat throughout the reading period, beginning the two-week stretch at 49.7, falling to its low of 49.1 on August 28, and closing out the reading at 50.1.


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The next release of the ESI will be on Wednesday, September 16, 2020.

About the Index

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.

For a more detailed overview of the Index and the underlying methodology, please request a white paper, and follow us on Twitter – @HPS_CS.

About Hamilton Place Strategies (HPS)

Hamilton Place Strategies (HPS) is an analytical public affairs consulting firm with offices in Washington, D.C. New York, and California. We integrate substantive analysis with communications and believe a deep understanding of business and economics leads to more effective public engagement and better outcomes for our clients.

For more information, visit Hamilton Place Strategies by clicking here and follow them on Twitter – @HPSInsight.

About CivicScience

CivicScience, Inc. provides the leading intelligent polling and real-time consumer insights platform, the InsightStore™. Its proprietary platform powers the world’s opinions and quickly gets that data to the decision makers who care. Every day, CivicScience polls ask millions of people questions related to thousands of topics, while its powerful data science and big data technology analyzes current consumer opinions, discovers trends as they start, and accurately predicts future behaviors and market outcomes. CivicScience polls run on hundreds of premier websites, in addition to its own public polling site at www.civicscience.com. CivicScience’s InsightStore™ is used by leading enterprises in marketing research, advertising, media, financial services, and political polling. For more information, visit CivicScience by clicking here and follow them on Twitter – @CivicScience.

Economic Sentiment Loses Momentum Following Unexpected Rebound

Economic sentiment trended downward over the past two weeks, reversing course from last reading’s surprising increase. The HPS-CivicScience Economic Sentiment Index (ESI) fell modestly, dropping 0.5 points to 46.6. Despite increases in confidence in the job market and the overall economy, economic sentiment fell on the whole, led by a significant decline in confidence in making a major purchase.


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Three of the ESI’s five indicators fell over the past two weeks. Confidence in making a major purchase dropped the most, falling by 2.8 points to 43.1 and erasing most of last reading’s gains. Close behind was a 1.1-point decline in confidence towards the housing market, which fell to 54.1. Despite the decline, confidence in the housing market remains the ESI’s highest indicator as housing data continues to beat expectations and homebuilder confidence reaches a record high even while the delinquency rate for residential mortgages has risen. Confidence in personal finances also fell by 0.6 points to 53.8, hovering around its early summer levels. Meanwhile, confidence in the job market and the U.S. economy both rose, increasing by 1.6 and 0.3 points to 35.6 and 46.2, respectively. Despite its rise over the past month, confidence in the U.S. economy remains 10.0 points below its June numbers, while confidence in the job market has largely returned to early summer levels.

The downturn in sentiment follows the July jobs report which showed the economy added 1.8 million jobs, as well as the first time weekly jobless claims fell below 1 million since March. While the topline numbers were positive in the July jobs report, some experts are concerned the data signals a slowdown in economic momentum and recovery. Despite these concerns, markets continue to tick upwards, with the S&P 500 hitting a new record high yesterday. There still remains a high level of uncertainty surrounding a new COVID-19 relief package, with no clear legislative path forward at the moment. The President did, however, sign a number of executive orders aiming to boost unemployment payments, provide a payroll tax holiday, defer student loan payments, and extend protections from evictions.  


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The ESI’s three-day moving average began the two-week stretch at 48.0 on August 5, before falling to its low of 43.2 on August 11. The reading then sharply increased, peaking at 49.8 on August 15 before closing the reading at 47.9.


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The next release of the ESI will be on Wednesday, September 2, 2020.

About the Index

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.

For a more detailed overview of the Index and the underlying methodology, please request a white paper, and follow us on Twitter – @HPS_CS.

About Hamilton Place Strategies (HPS)

Hamilton Place Strategies (HPS) is an analytical public affairs consulting firm with offices in Washington, D.C. New York, and California. We integrate substantive analysis with communications and believe a deep understanding of business and economics leads to more effective public engagement and better outcomes for our clients.

For more information, visit Hamilton Place Strategies by clicking here and follow them on Twitter – @HPSInsight.

About CivicScience

CivicScience, Inc. provides the leading intelligent polling and real-time consumer insights platform, the InsightStore™. Its proprietary platform powers the world’s opinions and quickly gets that data to the decision makers who care. Every day, CivicScience polls ask millions of people questions related to thousands of topics, while its powerful data science and big data technology analyzes current consumer opinions, discovers trends as they start, and accurately predicts future behaviors and market outcomes. CivicScience polls run on hundreds of premier websites, in addition to its own public polling site at www.civicscience.com. CivicScience’s InsightStore™ is used by leading enterprises in marketing research, advertising, media, financial services, and political polling. For more information, visit CivicScience by clicking here and follow them on Twitter – @CivicScience.

Economic Sentiment Defies Expectation, Sees First Rebound Since Early June

Economic sentiment rebounded over the past two weeks, as the U.S. reported the smallest daily rise in COVID-19 infections in weeks, and hopes for a potential vaccine increased. The HPS-CivicScience Economic Sentiment Index (ESI) posted a positive gain for the first time since early June, jumping 3.1 points to 47.1. All five of the ESI’s indicators increased, with confidence in personal finances leading the uptick.


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All five of the ESI’s indicators rose over the past two weeks. Confidence in personal finances rose the most, gaining 4.0 points to close at 54.4. Close behind were gains in confidence in the U.S. economy and confidence in making a major purchase, which rose 3.7 and 3.6 points, respectively, and both closed out the two-week period at 45.9. Posting more modest gains were confidence in finding a new job (up 2.5 points to 34.0) and confidence in the housing market (up 1.8 points to 55.2).

The uptick in sentiment comes amid mixed economic news. Cases of COVID-19 are rising at their slowest rate in weeks, while several potential vaccines entered new trial phases. Yet the $600-per-week unemployment benefit, implemented as part of the CARES Act in late March, expired July 31 after Congressional Republicans and Democrats were unable to come to an agreement on another round of fiscal stimulus. Initial unemployment claims rose for a second straight week at the end of July, moving up from 12,000 to 1.43 million. Additionally, forecasts predicting a sharp rise in economic activity in Q3 are largely dependent on rates of infection not rising.


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The ESI’s three-day moving average began the two-week stretch at 45.3 on July 22, before rising to its peak of 49.5 on July 24. It then declined before reaching its two-week low of 44.1 on July 29. The moving average rebounded on August 1 before falling again and closing out the two-week stretch at 46.8.  


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The next release of the ESI will be on Wednesday, August 19, 2020.

About the Index

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.

For a more detailed overview of the Index and the underlying methodology, please request a white paper, and follow us on Twitter – @HPS_CS.

About Hamilton Place Strategies (HPS)

Hamilton Place Strategies (HPS) is an analytical public affairs consulting firm with offices in Washington, D.C. New York, and California. We integrate substantive analysis with communications and believe a deep understanding of business and economics leads to more effective public engagement and better outcomes for our clients.

For more information, visit Hamilton Place Strategies by clicking here and follow them on Twitter – @HPSInsight.

About CivicScience

CivicScience, Inc. provides the leading intelligent polling and real-time consumer insights platform, the InsightStore™. Its proprietary platform powers the world’s opinions and quickly gets that data to the decision makers who care. Every day, CivicScience polls ask millions of people questions related to thousands of topics, while its powerful data science and big data technology analyzes current consumer opinions, discovers trends as they start, and accurately predicts future behaviors and market outcomes. CivicScience polls run on hundreds of premier websites, in addition to its own public polling site at www.civicscience.com. CivicScience’s InsightStore™ is used by leading enterprises in marketing research, advertising, media, financial services, and political polling. For more information, visit CivicScience by clicking here and follow them on Twitter – @CivicScience.

Economic Sentiment Steepens Decline, Returning To April Levels

Economic sentiment continues to drop as U.S. COVID-19 cases keep rising and states reimpose restrictions. The HPS-CivicScience Economic Sentiment Index (ESI) declined for the third consecutive reading, dropping 2.2 points to 44.0. The index now stands at its lowest level since mid-April, when the country faced the initial spike in U.S. COVID-19 infections and accompanying lockdowns. 


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Four of the ESI’s five indicators declined over the past two weeks. Confidence in the broader U.S. economy fell 6.0 points to 42.2, its lowest reading during 2020, and has now dropped a total of 14.0 points since early June. Also falling were confidence in making a major purchase (down 2.5 points to 42.3), confidence in personal finances (down 1.9 points to 50.4), and confidence in the job market (down 1.3 points to 31.5). Confidence in the job market is currently at its second-lowest reading in ESI history, following its all-time low in May 2020. The sole indicator to rise was confidence in the housing market, which posted a slight bump of 0.5 points and closed out the two-week period at 53.4.

The continued decline in confidence comes on the heels of an uncertain economic recovery. Retail sales jumped 7.5% in June after states lifted COVID-19-related restrictions, but plateaued late in the month as cases increased and some states reimposed restrictive measures. Texas, for example, ordered bars closed at the end of last month, while California added new restrictions to indoor dining. The rise in infections across the country has been coupled with a slowing of economic activity across the board. Average rates on long-term mortgages, meanwhile, have fallen to record lows. Freddie Mac reported that the average rate on a 30-year mortgage fell below 3.0% for the first time last week, to 2.98%.  


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The ESI’s three-day moving average began its volatile two-week stretch at its peak of 46.5 on July 8 before dropping, recovering, and then hitting its two-week low of 42.6 on July 15. The moving average rebounded slightly on July 18 before falling again and closing out the two-week stretch at 44.1 on July 21.


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The next release of the ESI will be on Wednesday, August 5, 2020.

About the Index

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.

For a more detailed overview of the Index and the underlying methodology, please request a white paper, and follow us on Twitter – @HPS_CS.

About Hamilton Place Strategies (HPS)

Hamilton Place Strategies (HPS) is an analytical public affairs consulting firm with offices in Washington, D.C. New York, and California. We integrate substantive analysis with communications and believe a deep understanding of business and economics leads to more effective public engagement and better outcomes for our clients.

For more information, visit Hamilton Place Strategies by clicking here and follow them on Twitter – @HPSInsight.

About CivicScience

CivicScience, Inc. provides the leading intelligent polling and real-time consumer insights platform, the InsightStore™. Its proprietary platform powers the world’s opinions and quickly gets that data to the decision makers who care. Every day, CivicScience polls ask millions of people questions related to thousands of topics, while its powerful data science and big data technology analyzes current consumer opinions, discovers trends as they start, and accurately predicts future behaviors and market outcomes. CivicScience polls run on hundreds of premier websites, in addition to its own public polling site at www.civicscience.com. CivicScience’s InsightStore™ is used by leading enterprises in marketing research, advertising, media, financial services, and political polling. For more information, visit CivicScience by clicking here and follow them on Twitter – @CivicScience.

Economic Sentiment Continues To Tumble As The Virus Spreads And States Reimpose Restrictions

The HPS-CivicScience Economic Sentiment Index (ESI) continued last reading’s decline, dropping 1.6 points to 46.2. The four week-long decline follows on the heels of a massive increase of confidence at the beginning of June as the economy began to fully reopen. Since then, there have been large spikes in new cases in states across the country, and confidence in the U.S. economy has plummeted 8.0 points from its June peak, its largest decline during the pandemic.


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Four of the five ESI indicators declined over the past two weeks. Confidence in the broader U.S. economy tanked by 5.5 points down to 48.2 as some states and localities impose new restrictions on economic activity. Confidence in personal finances also had a significant drop off, falling 1.8 points to 52.3, its lowest level since May. Confidence toward the job market and the housing market also experienced slight declines, falling 0.8 and 0.2 points, respectively. Consumers’ confidence in making a major purchase was the sole indicator to rise, increasing 0.1 points to 44.8. 

The recent surge in cases is impacting the economy as states and localities weigh halting economic reopenings. The surge also seems to be impacting consumer behavior as new cellphone data reveals that fewer consumers are patronizing businesses in states that are seeing a rising COVID case load. Many experts are now reconsidering the country’s growth trajectory for the rest of the year, with Goldman Sachs reducing its third-quarter GDP outlook by eight percentage points due to concerns of the increasing virus cases. The uncertainty around economic reopening has put a shadow on last week’s positive jobs report in which the economy added 4.8 million jobs and the unemployment rate fell to 11.1%, marking the second-consecutive month of growth.


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The ESI’s three-day moving average began the two-week stretch at its peak of 49.0 on June 24 before dropping to its low of 43.6 on July 2. The moving average then had a rocky rebound, closing out the reading on July 7 at 47.5.


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The next release of the ESI will be on Wednesday, July 22, 2020.

About the Index

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.

For a more detailed overview of the Index and the underlying methodology, please request a white paper, and follow us on Twitter – @HPS_CS.

About Hamilton Place Strategies (HPS)

Hamilton Place Strategies (HPS) is an analytical public affairs consulting firm with offices in Washington, D.C. New York, and California. We integrate substantive analysis with communications and believe a deep understanding of business and economics leads to more effective public engagement and better outcomes for our clients.

For more information, visit Hamilton Place Strategies by clicking here and follow them on Twitter – @HPSInsight.

About CivicScience

CivicScience, Inc. provides the leading intelligent polling and real-time consumer insights platform, the InsightStore™. Its proprietary platform powers the world’s opinions and quickly gets that data to the decision makers who care. Every day, CivicScience polls ask millions of people questions related to thousands of topics, while its powerful data science and big data technology analyzes current consumer opinions, discovers trends as they start, and accurately predicts future behaviors and market outcomes. CivicScience polls run on hundreds of premier websites, in addition to its own public polling site at www.civicscience.com. CivicScience’s InsightStore™ is used by leading enterprises in marketing research, advertising, media, financial services, and political polling. For more information, visit CivicScience by clicking here and follow them on Twitter – @CivicScience.

Economic Sentiment Falters Following Months-Long Rebound

Following the largest ever reading-to-reading increase in its seven-year history, the HPS-CivicScience Economic Sentiment Index (ESI) lost momentum, dropping 1.3 points to 47.8. While the last reading was driven by record-setting surges in confidence toward the job market and the economy, this reading’s drop was driven by significant losses from those very same indicators.


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Three of the ESI indicators declined over the past two weeks. Confidence in the broader U.S. economy plummeted by 2.5 points down to 53.7, while confidence in the job market decreased by 2.4 points to 33.6. Confidence toward making a major purchase also experienced losses, declining by 1.5 points to 44.7. Consumers’ confidence in the housing market experienced no change, remaining at 53.1, its highest level since March. The only indicator to improve was confidence in personal finances, which rose 0.2 points to 54.1. 

The decline in consumer confidence occurs as many states begin to reopen and the economy shows mixed signs of recovery. Among the states that have reopened and hoped to improve economic activity, some have seen COVID-19 cases begin to increase once more. Though unemployment has declined and layoffs have slowed, concerns about the resurgence of coronavirus have left many unsure about how well the job market can sustain its gains. While consumer spending is slowly recovering, new data shows that the largest cutback in spending came from the highest-earning quarter of Americans, whose spending accounts for about half of the decline in consumption during this recession and continues to recover at the slowest rate as compared to other quartiles. Between stimulus benefits and lowered consumption, the U.S. savings rate has skyrocketed, but tens of millions of unemployed workers face a fast-approaching “income cliff” as additional federal unemployment benefits disappear at the end of July.


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The ESI’s three-day moving average began the two-week stretch at its peak of 51.6 on June 10 before dropping to its low of 43.2 on June 16. The moving average then slowly bounced back, closing out the reading on June 23 at 49.0.


Click here to view image.

The next release of the ESI will be on Wednesday, July 8, 2020.

About the Index

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.

For a more detailed overview of the Index and the underlying methodology, please request a white paper, and follow us on Twitter – @HPS_CS.

About Hamilton Place Strategies (HPS)

Hamilton Place Strategies (HPS) is an analytical public affairs consulting firm with offices in Washington, D.C. New York, and California. We integrate substantive analysis with communications and believe a deep understanding of business and economics leads to more effective public engagement and better outcomes for our clients.

For more information, visit Hamilton Place Strategies by clicking here and follow them on Twitter – @HPSInsight.

About CivicScience

CivicScience, Inc. provides the leading intelligent polling and real-time consumer insights platform, the InsightStore™. Its proprietary platform powers the world’s opinions and quickly gets that data to the decision makers who care. Every day, CivicScience polls ask millions of people questions related to thousands of topics, while its powerful data science and big data technology analyzes current consumer opinions, discovers trends as they start, and accurately predicts future behaviors and market outcomes. CivicScience polls run on hundreds of premier websites, in addition to its own public polling site at www.civicscience.com. CivicScience’s InsightStore™ is used by leading enterprises in marketing research, advertising, media, financial services, and political polling. For more information, visit CivicScience by clicking here and follow them on Twitter – @CivicScience.