WASHINGTON, DC ‐ The Refinitiv/Ipsos Primary Consumer Sentiment Index for August 2021 is at 57.1. Fielded from July 23 ‐ August 6, 2021, this month’s index marks a significant decrease from July.
Consumer Sentiment Index Drops 4.3 Points
The Consumer Sentiment Index drops 4.3 points from last month, dropping for the second month in a row, and falling below its pre‐pandemic reading in March 2020 (60.1) once again. Declines of 2.6 points or greater across all sub‐indices seen this month.
Dropping by 3.1 points for the second consecutive month, the Current Index now reads at 49.9. This month's decline puts the reading 6.2 points below its pandemic high acheived in June 2021 (56.1). The Current Index now sits 3.5 points below its March 2020 reading (53.4).
The Investment Index, at 51.6, is down 2.6 points from last month, marking a third consecutive month of decline. This decline is the smallest across the four sub‐indices. This month's is now 3 points below its prepandemic reading in March 2020 (54.6).
After several months of slow upward movement and relative stability, the Expectations Index (62.1) drops 7.1 points from last month, the greatest decline among the four sub‐indices in August. It now reads only 1.5 points above its pre‐pandemic reading in March 2020 (63.6).
At 68.3, the Jobs Index falls by 4.1 points, and now sits on par with its readings from the spring. This is the first time the sub‐index has dropped since December 2020, and the decline puts an end to a seven month growth streak.
"With the Delta variant causing COVID‐19 cases to rise in the U.S. and jeopardizing the economic recovery, this month's Refinitiv/Ipsos Primary Consumer Sentiment Index falls for the second month in a row. The significant drop in the Expectations Index is a reflection that consumers are no longer as optimistic about the future as they were earlier in the summer," Chris Jackson of Ipsos states. "The Jobs Index also fell for the first time since December 2020, putting an end to its seven month growth streak.”
Jharonne Martis, Director of Consumer Research at Refinitiv, said, “Consumer worries about the future are reflected in the retail earnings data. The Refinitiv Retail & Restaurant Index outlook for Q3 2021 is showing a slowdown in consumer spending from the previous two quarters. If consumers' optimism improves around their future economic growth and job security, they will start spending more freely."
The PCSI Current Index currently reads at 49.9. This sub‐index saw a drop of 3.1 points for the second consecutive month and it now sits at 6.2 points below its pandemic high set in June (56.1). The index is now at its lowest reading since March 2021.
The PCSI Expectations Index drops 7.1 points this month, the largest decline of the four sub‐indices in August 2021. Reading at 62.1, this month's mark falls significantly after several months of slow growth and relative stability. It now sits 1.5 points below its March 2020 reading, once again dropping below its pre‐pandemic level.
This month, the PCSI Investment Index reads at 51.6 after dropping 2.6 points from July. With a third consecutive month of decline, this reading is now at its lowest point since March 2021 (49.4). This reading continues to drop further below its pre‐pandemic March 2020 reading (54.6).
The Jobs Index (68.3) drops for the first time since December 2020, down 4.1 points and ending a seven month growth streak. This sub‐index has once again dropped below where it stood just before the pandemic in March 2020 (69.7), and is now on par with it's readings from the spring.