Economic Sentiment Regresses After Six Weeks Of Steady Growth

Economic sentiment dropped over the past two weeks, ending a rally that began in late November of last year. The HPS-Civic Science Economic Sentiment Index (ESI) fell 0.9 points to 41.1.

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Four of the ESI’s five indicators fell over the past two weeks. The greatest decrease was in confidence in making a major purchase, which dropped 2.6 points to 26.6, followed by a 1.5 point drop to 38.8 in confidence in the overall U.S. economy. Though further research appears to confirm that the Omicron variant is less likely to result in serious health complications than previous COVID-19 strains, its community spread has left many businesses shorthanded, as infected employees are forced to stay home and call in sick. The Labor Department also revealed a 7% annual rate of inflation—the highest since 1982, and while unemployment is low, December payrolls only increased by 199,000, falling well short of expectations. Here is how the ESI’s other indicators moved over the past two weeks:

– Confidence in new jobs rose 0.5 points to 54.9.

– Confidence in personal finances dropped 0.4 points to 57.5.

– Confidence in new home purchases dropped 0.9 points to 27.9.

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The ESI’s three-day moving average began this two-week stretch at 42.1 on January 5. It then rose slightly, reaching a zenith at 43.6 on January 9 before dropping precipitously to 38 on January 15. The moving average recovered towards the end of the period, closing out the session on January 18 at 41.4.

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The next release of the ESI will be Wednesday, February 2, 2022.