Consumer confidence dropped 1.6 points to 51.3, its lowest level since falling to 50.7 on October 3, 2017, according to the HPS-CivicScience Economic Sentiment Index (ESI). This is the ESI’s second consecutive decline after dropping 0.3 points — from 53.2 to 52.9 — during the previous reading. The decline had little impact on the ESI’s 2017 average, which remains at 51.5, four points above its 2016 average of 47.5.
The index’s overall decline was driven by falling confidence across all five of the ESI’s indicators. This is the first time since April 4, 2017 that all five indicators declined during the same reading.
Consumer confidence in three of the five ESI indicators plummeted by more than 1.5 points. Confidence in personal finances decreased the most, falling 2.3 points from 67.2 to 64.9. While this decline brings confidence in personal finances to its lowest level since August 8, 2017, economic sentiment toward personal finances remains significantly higher than economic sentiment toward the other four indicators. In 2017, sentiment toward personal finances averaged a level of 65.0, nearly 15 points above the next highest indicator — sentiment toward making a major purchase — which averaged a level of 50.4 in 2017.
Consumers’ confidence in the broader U.S. economy and in the housing market also dropped significantly, falling 2.2 points to 47.7 and 1.7 points to 47.7, respectively. Confidence in making a major purchase fell 1.4 points to 51.3, a noteworthy decrease but comparatively small for the reading. While consumer confidence in the labor market remains at the lowest level of the five indicators, it declined the least, dropping only 0.4 points to 44.7.
Despite the index’s overall decline, the ESI’s three-day moving average ended the two-week reading period at a higher level than where it began. After starting the reading at 51.7, the moving average fell to its trough of 49.2 on Thursday, December 7. During the rest of the reading, the moving average steadily increased, rising 4.3 points in five days to reach its peak of 53.5 on Tuesday, December 12, the final day of the reading.
The next release of the ESI will be the week of December 25, 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.
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.