Consumer Sentiment Remains Near Historic Low

After a slight uptick last period, economic sentiment fell again over the past two weeks, declining 0.5 points to 40.5, according to the HPS-CivicScience Economic Sentiment Index (ESI). This reading marks the second-lowest in ESI history, following its all-time low of 40.1 last month. 

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This week’s reading indicates a divergence in consumer sentiment about their own finances versus the state of the overall economy. As Americans continue to grapple with a housing shortage, confidence in the housing market dropped 2.7 points to an all-time low of 27.4. Also driving this week’s decline in economic sentiment was falling confidence in personal finances, which fell 2.4 points to 53.1—likely a continued reflection of supply chain issues and inflation worries heading into the holiday season. On the other hand, confidence in the overall U.S. economy jumped to 38.1, a notable 3.9-point increase that may indicate rising optimism about the general economy—even if consumers aren’t feeling the same way about their own finances. Here’s how the other indicators moved:

– Confidence in making a major purchase dropped 0.8 points to 27.9

– Confidence in the job market dropped 0.2 points to 56.1

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The ESI’s three-day moving average began the period on November 10 at a steady 41.9 before falling and rising in two cycles. It hit its period high of 42.9 on November 16 and low of 38.6 three days later. The moving average closed out on an upswing, reaching 41.8 on November 23.

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The next release of the ESI will be Wednesday, December 8.