Economic Sentiment Rebounds, Its First Jump Since January

Economic sentiment surged over the past two weeks, rising 2.2 points to a reading of 49.6, according to the HPS-Civic Science Economic Sentiment Index (ESI).  With Congress seemingly on the cusp of sending a COVID-relief bill to President Biden’s desk and COVID cases decreasing across the country, economic sentiment rose for the first time in two months. The surge was driven by a significant boost in confidence towards the overall U.S. economy.

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All five of the ESI’s indicators rose over the past two weeks amidst better than expected economic data, House passage of the COVID-relief package, continued rollout of COVID vaccines, and new economic forecasts signaling strong U.S. economic growth in the months ahead. Confidence in the U.S. economy grew the most, rising by 5.6 points to 55.4, its largest jump since September.

The four other indicators rose at a more modest pace:

– Confidence in the job market increased 1.9 points to 43.1, its highest level since September.

– The consumer indicators of confidence in personal finances and making a major purchase rose 1.9 and 1.8 points, respectively.

– Confidence in the housing market increased slightly, moving up 0.1 point to 49.4.

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The moving average began at its low of 47.6 on February 17 and peaked on February 21 at 50.7. It then fluctuated within a 1.0 band for the remainder of the reading, closing at 49.1 on March 2.

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The next release of the ESI will be Wednesday, March 17, 2021.