The Washington Post

Seems that 1.3 million people losing unemployment insurance hurts economic confidence

A couple weeks ago, 1.3 million people lost the unemployment insurance benefits they'd been receiving for months, casting them into a shaky job market with no support. Over time, obviously, that's likely to depress their feelings about the economy. Now, courtesy of a new-ish measuring tool developed by CivicScience and the consulting firm Hamilton Place Strategies, we've got a reasonably concrete indicator that it already has:

(Hamilton Place Strategies)

The Economic Sentiment Index, as they've dubbed it, is compiled through polls constantly deployed across the Internet with questions around how people feel about the direction the economy's headed and their place within it. No poll is perfect, but this one tries to at least be representative, by developing profiles of the people who answer questions and weighting the survey sample to get a fair slice of the population. Then, they can re-separate the results, as with the chart above, which shows unemployed people specifically diverge from everyone else. In addition, respondents were particularly pessimistic on the question of whether it will soon be easier or harder to find a job:

(Hamilton Place Strategies)

The Senate's failure to extend unemployment insurance is a concern for all sorts of reasons. Among them is the evidence that, along with a weak December jobs report, it might have contributed to the leveling off of what had been a steady rise since the government shutdown in October.

(Hamilton Place Strategies)

For what it's worth, Gallup's economic confidence index isn't so gloomy. But since it's based on telephone polls, it may be catching a different mix of folks.

Lydia DePillis is a reporter focusing on labor, business, and housing. She previously worked at The New Republic and Washington City Paper. She's from Seattle.
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