Expectations for job security declines in February. American consumer confidence, as measured by the Refinitiv/Ipsos Primary Consumer Sentiment Index, is at 60.1 for the month of March 2020. This represents a 2.8 point decrease from last month.
Weakening Expectations For Job Security
Declines are driven by steep drops in the Jobs and Expectations sub indices as consumers express increased pessimism with the future and job security. Current Conditions and Investment are more stable as the current economic uncertainty has yet to filter into consumers home lives.
"The coronavirus outbreak and resulting market panic have more Americans spooked about the future of the economy," reports Chris Jackson of Ipsos. "As consumers look forward, they see many storm clouds significantly impacting their confidence. However we do not yet see strong impacts on personal finances suggesting that the situation could turn if markets calm and the public health crisis is managed."
Jharonne Martis, Director of Consumer Research at Refinitiv, said, “Correspondingly, analysts polled by Refinitiv are also cautious about Q1 2020 earnings expectations. Especially since many retailers lowered their earnings guidance for Q1. For Q4 2019 retailers have an 8.9% estimated earnings growth rate, which is expected to drop to 2.3% for Q1 2020."
The PCSI Current Condition Index shows a decrease of 1.4 points since last month (currently at 53.4) While Americans are more pessimistic about the economy of the nation as a whole, evaluations at the local level and of personal finances remain robust.
The PCSI Expectations Index is down significantly 4.8 points to stand at 63.6. Americans are increasingly worried about the economy's impact on their personal finances and their job security.
The PCSI Investment Index is down 0.8 points from last month to 54.6. Major purchase comfort is essentially unchanged while investment confidence is down slightly.
The PCSI Jobs Index is down 5.6 points currently standing at 69.7. Despite only slightly elevated actual experience with job loss, job security and expectations for job security have both weakened in the last month.