Economic Sentiment Nudges Upward

Economic sentiment eked out a positive gain over the past two weeks, amid questions surrounding inflation, vaccination rates, and new mask mandates. The HPS-CivicScience Economic Sentiment Index (ESI) added 0.2 points, driven mostly by a recovery in sentiment towards making a major purchase.

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The ESI’s five indicators diverged substantially over the past two weeks. Making the biggest positive jump was confidence in making a major purchase, which rose 3.3 points to 36.3. The biggest decline, meanwhile, came in confidence in personal finances, which dropped 1.9 points to 55.6. American workers are benefitting from higher wages as the job market remains tight, yet the past few weeks raised new questions surrounding the impact of the COVID-19 Delta variant; companies including Apple and Google announced plans to push back return-to-work dates, while cities including Washington, DC reintroduced indoor mask mandates. The ESI’s other indicators made the following moves:

– Confidence in the overall U.S. economy rose 0.7 points to 46.6.

– Confidence in the housing market remained unchanged at 29.0.

– Confidence in finding a new job dropped 0.9 points to 58.6.

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The ESI’s three day rolling average began at 42.7 on July 21, dropping quickly to its two-week low of 41.8 on July 22. It then gradually rose, reaching its two-week high of 46.6 on July 27, before dropping, recovering again, and closing out the two-week stretch at 44.6 on August 3.

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The next release of the ESI will be Wednesday, August 18th.