Consumer Confidence Remains Largely Unchanged Despite Tumultuous News Cycle

Consumer confidence decreased slightly over the past two weeks, according to the HPS-CivicScience Economic Sentiment Index (ESI). The index fell 0.1 points from 52.0 to 51.9. The decline comes amidst the violence in Charlottesville, VA, on Saturday, August 12. In the aftermath of the clashes and President Trump’s multiple statements in response, the second week of the reading featured the disbanding of two of the president’s CEO advisory councils, as well as the departure of chief strategist Stephen Bannon. Despite the political turbulence, economic sentiment among consumers remained largely unchanged since the last reading on August 8.

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The ESI’s three-day moving average began the reading in a positive fashion, increasing from 53.3 on the first day of the reading–Wednesday, August 9–to its peak of 54.2 on Saturday, August 12, the day of the violent events in Charlottesville. In the wake of those events, however, the rolling average steadily declined until reaching its trough of 50.4 on Wednesday, August 16. The moving average experienced a bit of a revival toward the end of the reading, increasing 2.3 points to 52.7 on Sunday, August 20, before ending the period at 52.6 on Tuesday, August 22.

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Among the ESI’s five indicators, the housing market and the broader U.S. economy were the two indicators to decline. Economic sentiment toward the housing market fell 2.1 points to 48.5, and sentiment toward the broader U.S. economy dipped 0.9 points to 47.0. Consumer confidence in personal finances, making a major purchase, and the labor market all improved. Sentiment toward personal finances increased 1.4 points to 66.3, while sentiment toward making a major purchase rose 0.8 points to 53.2. Consumers were slightly more confident in the labor market as that indicator increased by 0.1 points to 44.4.

Despite these movements, the order of indicators remained unchanged after the reading, as it has since the May 30 reading. Consumers continue to be most confident in their personal finances (by a considerable margin) and least confident in the labor market. Confidence in making a major purchase, the housing market, and the broader U.S. economy rank second, third, and fourth, respectively.

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The next release of the ESI will be September 5, 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 (HPS) is an analytical public affairs consulting firm with offices in Washington, D.C. and San Francisco. 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.

Requests for the ESI Real-Time Beta

In early 2014, the HPS-CS Economic Sentiment Index will be made available in real-time to a select group of beta partners. Beta partners will receive access to a secure website with real-time results and analysis tools, email alerts when numbers shift, and private insights not made available on our public blog. You will also be able to view sentiment data among key sub-populations, such as high-income consumers, frequent retail shoppers, people most likely to buy or lease a new car, or hundreds of other groups.

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