Consumer Confidence Bouncing Back Even As Coronavirus Fears Remain

The American consumer is as confident today as they were in March when the coronavirus pandemic was shutting down New York City.

With weekly unemployment filings dipping below one million for the first time since lockdowns were introduced, the Ipsos Consumer Confidence Index — conducted on August 11-12 — rose 2.7 points to 50.2, its highest level of the summer.

This week’s score is on par with the index’s weekly average since the pandemic began in mid-March (50.7) and 10 points below its level in the first days of March, just before the Tri-State Area new Manhattan closed for business and Central Park was turned into a M.A.S.H. unit in anticipation of a hospital surge.

This week’s numbers, released today, also show that a while half of Americans feeling positive about an economic recovery, 54% believe someone they know will lose their job in the next six months.

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MORE FROM FORBESA Second Wave Of Layoffs Is Coming As Lockdowns Persist

A recent study by Daniel Alpert of Cornell University, the Job Quality Index and RIWI Corp. shows that another round of layoffs and furloughs was under way. The study, conducted from July 23 to August 1, showed that workers placed back on payrolls by employers after the first round of lockdowns were being laid off again.

Of the employees who were placed back on payrolls after being initially laid off or furloughed, 31% said that were laid off a second time. Some 26% of those placed back on payrolls report being told by their employer that they might be laid off again if restrictions remain, or are not lifted soon.

On Wednesday, an MDVIP/Ipsos poll found that four in five Americans were worried about a second wave of Covid-19 infections in their state or town. Some 79% said so.

Another 71% said they don’t like seeing people not wearing masks when masks are required, or when they do not abide by the six-feet of personal space rule when talking to people on the job.

The constant negative headlines of coronavirus information in the media was also adding to coronavirus stress levels, survey authors said. Thanks, media virologists!

Nearly three in five (57%) said they have had to take a break from the news and/or social media to help reduce their worries about the pandemic.

UBS Global Wealth Management strategists led by Dirk Effenberger, head of investment risk, said the landscape looks good for equities for the next 12 months thanks to government stimulus.

Today’s Ipsos poll suggests consumers coming out of the doldrums.

“We are in risk-on mode,” Effenberger says.

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