Consumer Confidence Hits 14-Month Low Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

As the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) brings countries and the global economy to a standstill, consumer confidence continued its drastic decline, slipping to its lowest point in over a year. The HPS-CivicScience Economic Sentiment Index (ESI) followed last reading’s fall of 1.9 points with a 2.4 point drop to land at 49.4, its lowest reading since January 2019.

As countries face disruptions to global supply chains and consumer demand shifts to reflect social distancing measures and closed businesses, consumer sentiment towards the labor market, personal finances, and making a major purchase have all plummeted. On the other hand, sentiment toward the broader US economy has improved, and confidence in the housing market remains strong.

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Three of the ESI’s indicators fell over the past two weeks. Consumer confidence in the labor market fell the most, plummeting by 5.3 points to 38.1, its lowest reading since 2015. Sentiment toward personal finances and making a major purchase decreased by 5.2 and 4.8 points, respectively. Meanwhile, consumer confidence in the broader U.S. economy improved by 2.3 points to 47.0, and sentiment toward the housing market increased by 1.1 points to 54.4.

The stark decline continues the overall downward trend since the start of year, and comes amid the rapidly evolving COVID-19 crisis. As countries around the world move to contain the pandemic, the U.S. has seen stock markets plummet and the Federal Reserve cut interest rates to zero and promise to buy at least $700 billion in government and mortgage-related bonds. Meanwhile, state governments are taking action to slow the spread of the virus and encourage social distancing, resulting in slowed economic activity both in the U.S. and abroad.

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The three-day rolling average started at 51.1 and remained relatively steady before hitting its peak of 52.4 on March 11. It then declined to reach a low of 44.2 on March 16 before closing the reading on a slight upswing, ending at 45.5.

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The next release of the ESI will be on Wednesday, April 1, 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 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.