Economic Sentiment Plateaus As Confidence In The Job Market Falls To All-Time Low

Consumer sentiment leveled out over the past two weeks following April’s uptick of confidence. The HPS-CivicScience Economic Sentiment Index (ESI) only rose 0.1 points to 44.8 during a two-week period where states and the federal government began making plans to reopen the economy. The plateau in confidence was driven by drops in three categories, including confidence in the job market, which reached a historic low days after the country’s unemployment rate jumped to 14.7%.

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Though overall confidence remained steady, there was substantial movement among the ESI’s individual indicators over the past two weeks. Confidence in the housing market increased for a second-straight reading, rising 3.4 points to 48.1. Also continuing to recover was confidence in making a major purchase, which increased 0.7 points to 39.3. Weighing the ESI  down were dips in three other indicators; confidence in the overall economy led the decline, falling 2.8 points to 53.4, reversing a previous eight-week rebound. Also dropping were confidence in personal finances and confidence in the job market, which fell by 0.7 and 0.4 points, respectively, to 51.2 and 31.8. Confidence in the job market is now at the lowest level since the inception of the ESI.

Changes in sentiment come as April’s jobs data saw another jump in the US unemployment rate, which now stands at 14.7%, but may in fact be much higher. Countering these numbers was some positive economic news. The S&P 500 rose 3.5% last week, and the number of new requests for government-backed forbearance has slowed. More states began to ease lockdown measures over the past two weeks, and Americans report they see less of a risk in engaging in social activities. 

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The ESI’s three-day moving average began the two-week stretch on April 29 at 46.3, rising on May 1 to its two-week high of 47.3. A sharp decline on May 2 was followed by a gradual decline to the two-week low of 42.7 on May 9, the day after the release of April’s jobs report. Confidence rebounded on May 10 and closed out the two-week stretch on May 12 at 44.2.

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The next release of the ESI will be on Wednesday, May 27, 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.

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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.