Consumer confidence dropped sharply, falling from its 2017 high of 52.9 by 2.1 points to 50.8, according to the HPS-CivicScience Economic Sentiment Index (ESI). The decline comes during Congress and the Trump Administration’s ongoing debate on healthcare reform. The three-day rolling average reveals that the ESI’s average dropped steeply, falling 2.5 points, the day before the scheduled vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act. This is the index’s first decline since the beginning of February, when consumer confidence dropped below 50.0 points for the only time in 2017. The ESI’s February decline coincided with the release of the Trump Administration’s executive order on immigration.
Economic sentiment toward all five ESI indicators fell, with confidence in the broader U.S. economy plummeting 3.2 points. This drop pulled the indicator down to its lowest level since November 2016. Consumer confidence in personal finances hit a low for 2017 after falling nearly 3.0 points from 65.3 to 62.4. Confidence in the labor market also fell dramatically, dropping 2.7 points from 46.6 to 43.9. In comparison with the steep decline in confidence in personal finances and the labor market, the 1.6 point decline in confidence in making a major purchase seems modest for the reading period. Consumer confidence in the housing market was the sole indicator to fall less than 1.0 point as it dropped 0.3 points, from 50.8 to 50.5. With this small decline, consumers are now more confident in the housing market than in the broader U.S. economy for the first time since November 2016.
Despite the overall declines in economic sentiment, the ESI’s three-day rolling average ended the two-week reading period higher than it began, at 52.6. It started the reading period with a 2.5 point decline, falling from 52.5 to 50.0 on Thursday, March 23. This initial drop coincided with Congress’ failed effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act. With the future of healthcare reform uncertain, the average continued to fall over the next few days, reaching its trough of 49.1 on Saturday, March 25. The rolling average did not recover its losses until the final day of the reading, when it settled at 52.6.
The next release of the ESI will be April 18, 2017.
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.
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, 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.