Washington, DC, August 5, 2021 — With COVID cases rising, consumer confidence has fallen to its lowest levels since February 2021, now reading at 54.8 in this week’s Ipsos-Forbes Advisor U.S. Consumer Confidence Tracker.
This week, Americans show new signs of concern about their job security and a significant drop in comfort with household spending. Nevertheless, nearly six in ten Americans remain confident that the economy will rebound quickly once restrictions on the economy are lifted.
Confidence has lowered across all demographic groups, with steep declines even among those with a typically more robust outlook. Since last week, overall consumer confidence has dropped by 9.3 points among retired Americans and by 3 points among those earning more than $100,000 a year.
Across regions, consumer sentiment decreases the most in the West (-9.8 points), followed by the South (-5.2) and the Midwest (-4.1).
Additionally, seven in ten parents of a child under 18 report they have received or expect to receive a Child Tax Credit payment. A plurality plan to spend the money on basic household needs, like rent or mortgage payments, or to purchase food items.
1. Scoring at 54.8, the latest Overall Consumer Confidence falls 5.3 points from last week.
The Overall Confidence Index is currently 1.6 points above the pandemic average and 5.3 points below where it stood in early March 2020, prior to the first lockdowns (60.1).
2. The Current, Expectations and Investment sub-indices all experience a decline, of 6.3, 4.1, and 6.3 points, respectively.
3. The Jobs sub-index sheds 5.3 points as more Americans indicate worries over job security for themselves and those close to them.
The proportion of Americans who say they are now more confident in their job security compared to 6 months ago is at 54%, down 6 percentage points from last week.
The proportion of Americans reporting they, a family member, or a personal acquaintance lost their job in the past six months due to economic conditions is at 37%, up 4 points from last week.
In addition, 45% say it’s likely they, a family member, or a personal acquaintance will lose their job in the next six months due to economic conditions, up 8 points from last week.
4. Expectations that the economy will rebound quickly once pandemic restrictions are lifted hold steady at 56%.
5. Views are similarly unchanged on allowing businesses to reopen before the virus is fully contained. This remains the majority view at 58%.
6. Comfort with making major and other household purchases suffers steep reversals.
43% say they are more comfortable making major household purchases compared to six months ago, down 10 points from last week.
52% say they are more comfortable making other household purchases compared to six months ago, down 7 points from last week.
7. Half of all adults with a child under 18 in their household report having received a Child Tax Credit payment in the past month, and another 20% expect to receive one. Among this group, a plurality (35%) report putting it towards basic household needs, like rent, mortgage, or food.
The data used for the Consumer Confidence index and sub-indices is based on the following questions:
Now, thinking about our economic situation, how would you describe the current economic situation in the U.S.? Is it… very good, somewhat good, somewhat bad or very bad?
Rate the current state of the economy in your local area using a scale from 1 to 7, where 7 means a very strong economy today and 1 means a very weak economy.
Looking ahead six months from now, do you expect the economy in your local area to be much stronger, somewhat stronger, about the same, somewhat weaker, or much weaker than it is now?
Rate your current financial situation, using a scale from 1 to 7, where 7 means your personal financial situation is very strong today and 1 means it is very weak
Looking ahead six months from now, do you expect your personal financial situation to be much stronger, somewhat stronger, about the same, somewhat weaker, or much weaker than it is now?
Compared to 6 months ago, are you NOW more or less comfortable making a major purchase, like a home or car?
Compared to 6 months ago, are you NOW more or less comfortable making other household purchases?
Compared to 6 months ago, are you NOW more or less confident about job security for yourself, your family and other people you know personally?
Compared to 6 months ago, are you NOW more or less confident of your ability to invest in the future, including your ability to save money for your retirement or your children’s education?
Thinking of the last 6 months, have you, someone in your family or someone else you know personally lost their job as a result of economic conditions?
Now look ahead at the next six months. How likely is it that you, someone in your family or someone else you know personally will lose their job in the next six months as a result of economic conditions?
Q. To what extent do you agree with the each of the following?
The economy will recover quickly once the lockdown is over.
We should restart the economy and allow businesses to open even if the virus is still not fully contained.
Q. Did you receive a Child Tax Credit payment in the past month?
Yes, I received it
Not yet, but I expect to
No, and I don't expect to
Q. Regardless of whether you have received it yet, which of the following best describes how you are using, or plan to use, your monthly Child Tax Credit payments? Please select all that apply.
Using it for basic household needs, like rent/mortgage or food
Using it to pay down debt
Spending it on items I typically buy
Spending it on new things I do not typically buy
Saving it for future use
Putting it toward my child(ren)’s education
Paying for childcare
About the Study
These findings are based on data from an Ipsos survey conducted August 3-4, 2021 with a sample of 907 adults aged 18-74 from the continental U.S., Alaska, and Hawaii who were interviewed online in English.
The sample was randomly drawn from Ipsos’ online panel, partner online panel sources, and “river” sampling and does not rely on a population frame in the traditional sense. Ipsos uses fixed sample targets, unique to each study, in drawing a sample. After a sample has been obtained from the Ipsos panel, Ipsos calibrates respondent characteristics to be representative of the U.S. Population using standard procedures such as raking-ratio adjustments. The source of these population targets is U.S. Census 2016 American Community Survey data. The sample drawn for this study reflects fixed sample targets on demographics. Post-hoc weights were made to the population characteristics on gender, age, race/ethnicity, region, and education.
Statistical margins of error are not applicable to online non-probability polls. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error and measurement error. Where figures do not sum to 100, this is due to the effects of rounding. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points for all respondents. Ipsos calculates a design effect (DEFF) for each study based on the variation of the weights, following the formula of Kish (1965). This study had a credibility interval adjusted for design effect. For n=907, DEFF=1.5 and adjusted Confidence Interval=+/-5.2 percentage points.
Findings from March 2010 to early March 2020 are based on data from Refinitiv /Ipsos’ Primary Consumer Sentiment Index (PCSI) collected in a monthly survey on Ipsos’ Global Advisor online survey platform with the same questions. For the PCSI survey, Ipsos interviews a total of 1,000+ U.S. adults aged 18-74. The Refinitiv/Ipsos Primary Consumer Sentiment Index (PCSI), ongoing since 2010, is a monthly survey of consumer attitudes on the current and future state of local economies, personal finance situations, savings, and confidence to make large investments. The PCSI metrics reported each month consist of a “Primary Index” based on 10 questions available upon request and of several “sub-indices” each based on a subset of these 10 questions. Those sub-indices include a Current Index, an Expectations Index, an Investment Index, and a Jobs Index.
Findings for January 2002- February 2011 are based on data from the RBC CASH Index, a monthly telephone survey of 1,000 U.S. adults aged 18 and older conducted by Ipsos with a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percentage points.
For more information on this news release, please contact:
Senior Vice President, U.S., Public Affairs
+1 202 420 2025 [email protected]
Media Relations Specialist, U.S., Public Affairs
+1 718 755-8829 [email protected]
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