Washington, DC, December 17, 2020 — As weekly first-time jobless claims continue to rise, overall consumer confidence indexes at 50.1 in this week’s Ipsos-Forbes Advisor U.S. Consumer Confidence Tracker, a marginal increase of 0.3 from the week prior.
Overall and Expectations indices are virtually unchanged from last week. The Current and Investment indices are both up by about 1 point while the Jobs Index is down by 1 point.
Consumer confidence shows almost identical levels among Republicans, Democrats and Independents for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic. Additionally, Democrats’ outlook about their personal and community’s future situation continues to tick upward since the presidential election. In a reversal, they now score more highly on the Expectations Index than do Republicans (65.4 vs. 58.1 respectively).
As the United States begins to administer the coronavirus vaccine, one in four Americans (39%) believe that their financial situation will improve as a consequence. A plurality (46%) believe it will stay the same, and 8% believe it will worsen.
1. At 50.1, the Consumer Confidence Index is up 0.3 point from last week.
The index is currently 0.6 point above the pandemic average, exactly 10 points lower than where it stood in early March, and 12.1 points lower than at this time last year.
2. At 42.1 and 46.2 respectively, the Current and Investment indices are both up by about 1 point. The Expectations index is statistically unchanged from last week (+0.1 point).
3. The Jobs Index sees a loss of 1 point, following another week of rising first-time unemployment claims. Last week, 885,000 Americans filed initial jobless claims, an increase of 23,000 from the week prior.
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 45%, up 2 points from last week.
In addition, 53% 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 4 points from last week and 7 points from just before the election.
4. As the United States begins to administer the first wave of the coronavirus vaccine, just 39% of Americans believe their financial status will improve as people start to get it. More (46%) believe that their financial situation will stay the same.
5. Half of Americans (51%) foresee a quick economic recovery once pandemic restrictions are lifted on businesses, up 1 point from last week.
6. The nation remains closely divided on restarting the economy if the coronavirus is not fully contained yet: 47% agree that businesses should be allowed to open again, 49% disagree.
7. Purchasing confidence shows small signs of improvement.
Thirty-eight percent say they are more comfortable making a major purchase like a home or a car compared to six months ago, up 2 points from last week.
Forty-two percent say they are more comfortable making other household purchases than they were six months ago, up 3 points from last week.
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 US? 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 restrictions to control the coronavirus pandemic are relaxed.
We should restart the economy and allow businesses to open even if the virus is still not fully contained.
Q. Once people start getting the COVID-19 vaccine, do you believe your financial picture will:
About the Study
These findings are based on data from an Ipsos survey conducted December 15-16, 2020, with a sample of 921 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 of the following (n=921, DEFF=1.5, adjusted Confidence Interval=+/-5.2 percentage points).
Findings from previous time periods going back to March 2011 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.
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Media Relations Specialist, U.S., Public Affairs
+1 718 755-8829 [email protected]
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