After a dip in February, consumer confidence recovered slightly over the past two weeks, according to the HPS-CivicScience Economic Sentiment Index (ESI). The index rose a total of 0.8 points, rising from a reading of 52.9 on March 6th to 53.7 on March 20th. Consumer confidence remains slightly above 2017 levels, as this week’s reading exceeded last year’s high-point of 53.2 by 0.5 points.
The recovery in economic sentiment was driven by a 2.1 point increase in consumer confidence in the broader economy, the largest move by any subcategory during the reading period.
Four out of the ESI’s five indicators rose during the two-week period. As stated above, confidence in the broader U.S. economy experienced the largest change of any indicator during the reading period, up from 49.6 to 51.7. Consumer sentiment toward making a major purchase also rose by 1.6 points to 54.4, its highest reading for 2018. Additionally, confidence in the U.S. labor market rose to 48.3.
Consumer confidence in personal finances declined for the third consecutive reading and was the only indicator to fall, dropping 1.2 points to 64.5 its lowest reading since July 11, 2017.
The ESI’s three-day rolling average ended the reading period on a low note at 52.5, 2.9 points off a high-point of 55.4. The moving average reached its lowest point of 51.6 the day following the announcement that National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn was leaving the White House. Afterward, the three-day rolling average generally rose, reaching a high of 55.4 on March 16.
The next release of the ESI will be April 3, 2018.