Summer Bummer: Pandemic Spike Hits Consumer Confidence

Off the Charts: The Visual Says It All

Young woman working late and checking work email on mobile at home
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Oscar Wong/Getty Images

What a difference a month makes. 

People’s feelings about the economy and their own finances have headed south amid rising numbers of new coronavirus cases and the spread of the delta variant, according to Morning Consult, a polling firm. The chart below shows that the company’s Index of Consumer Sentiment, based on a daily survey of 6,000 U.S. residents, has tumbled since early July.

As the pandemic receded in the spring and earlier in the summer, people started spending more, especially on things like traveling and eating out. But the latest consumer confidence data suggests that trend could unravel. 

“The fall in confidence poses a direct risk to spending, highlighting how sensitive consumers remain to the spread of the virus,” Morning Consult said in a recent report. “If consumers increasingly opt to stay away from activities they deem too risky, sales at businesses such as restaurants, hotels, gyms and airlines are likely to suffer, potentially undermining the recovery in the service sector and the U.S. economy as a whole.”

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