All components on the Presidential Leadership and National Outlook indexes fall; Financial Related Stress Index shows stress has increased

LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#EconomicOptimismIndex–The IBD/TIPP Economic Optimism Index, a leading national poll on consumer confidence, dropped 9.5% in May. The overall reading now stands at 41.2, down from last month’s 45.5. This keeps the index in negative territory for the ninth consecutive month. A reading above 50.0 signals optimism and below 50.0 indicates pessimism on IBD/TIPP indexes.

The IBD/TIPP Economic Optimism Index has established a strong track record of foreshadowing the confidence indicators issued later each month by the University of Michigan and The Conference Board.

For the May index, IBD/TIPP surveyed 1,320 adults May 4-6. The poll was conducted online using TechnoMetrica’s network of online panels to provide the sample. IBD/TIPP also surveyed respondents on key political issues for the separate Presidential Leadership Index and National Outlook Index, as well as the Financial Related Stress Index.

This month, the Presidential Leadership Index was down across the board. Its overall reading of 44.7 declined 8.2% from April’s 48.7 reading, and the Favorability component returned to negative territory after rising to hit neutral – 50.0 – last month. It now stands at 46.0 after an 8.0% stumble.

The National Outlook Index declined the most of any index in May. It dropped 10.2%, falling from 45.2 in April to 40.6 this month. The Quality of Life component returned to negative territory (48.6) after reaching 52.1 last month, while the Morals & Ethics (32.7), Direction of the Country (37.2), and Standing in the World (38.9) components all dropped by double-digit percentages – 14.4%, 14.1% and 10.8% respectively.

Financial Related Stress also continued to increase this month, hitting a new high point since April 2020’s 69.8. Its current reading of 69.3 was up 2.1% from last month’s 67.9. A reading over 50.0 on this index equals more financial stress while a reading below 50.0 would indicate consumers feel less stress. The index was last below 50.0 in February 2020 (48.1).

“Last month’s flicker of optimism evaporated this month,” said Ed Carson, IBD’s news editor. “With the Economic Optimism Index dropping significantly and the Six-Month Economic Outlook at its lowest point in more than a decade, a true economic slowdown likely is nearing, if it’s not already here.”

The flagship IBD/TIPP Economic Optimism Index has three key components. In May, all three declined.

  • The Six-Month Economic Outlook, a measure of how consumers feel about the economy’s prospects in the next six months, fell 16.4% this month. Its reading of 33.2, down from 39.7 in April, hit its lowest point since August 2011 (31.7).
  • The Personal Financial Outlook, a measure of how Americans feel about their own finances in the next six months, reflected only a modest change. Its reading of 50.4 was down 3.4% this month from April’s 52.2, but the component remained in positive territory.
  • Confidence in Federal Economic Policies, a proprietary IBD/TIPP measure of views on how government economic policies are working, dropped 9.9% in May, moving from 44.5 in April to 40.1 this month. The last time the component was this low was December 2015 (also 40.1).

“When inflation fears start to rise, it’s not uncommon to see slight adjustments in spending. We’ve now reached the point where consumers are not just spending less on ‘extras’ like entertainment or travel, but 67% are now chopping their grocery purchases as well, which shows an impact on day-to-day life,” said Raghavan Mayur, president of TechnoMetrica, who directed the poll. “Nearly half of poll respondents (48%) think we are in a recession – the highest percentage we’ve seen over the last six months – and only 23% feel like the economy is improving, which is down 6% since April’s poll. Americans are growing increasingly uncomfortable with the state of the economy and the direction in which it is trending.”

Economic Optimism Index Breakdown

This month, four of 21 demographic groups — such as age, income, race and party preference — that IBD/TIPP tracks were above 50.0, in positive territory, on the Economic Optimism Index. That’s vs. seven in April, three in both March and February, five in January and seven in December. Just one group rose in May vs. 20 in April, three groups in March, eight in February, three in January and 18 in December.

For the Six-Month Economic Outlook component, one of 21 groups that IBD/TIPP tracks scored in optimistic territory vs. three in April, one in March, February and January and six in December. Optimism over the economy’s six-month outlook rose for no groups in May vs. 20 in April, one in March, 11 in February, four in January and 18 in December.

For the Personal Financial component, nine groups IBD/TIPP tracks were in optimistic territory vs. 14 in April, six in March, 14 in February and 15 in January and December. Six groups rose after 19 did in April, two in March, none in February, six in January and 17 in December.

For the Federal Policies component, four of the 21 demographic groups tracked were above 50.0 vs. six in April, three in March and February, two in January and eight in December. Just one group rose in May vs. 18 in April, 10 in March, four in February, five in January, 18 in December, four in November, three in October, two in September, 12 in August, three in July and 18 in June.


The IBD/TIPP Economic Optimism Index is the earliest take on consumer confidence each month and predicts with good reliability monthly changes in sentiment in well-known polls by The Conference Board and the University of Michigan. The IBD/TIPP Economic Optimism Index is based on a survey of about 1,300 adults conducted using a network of online panels. The national poll is generally conducted in the first week of the month.

For more information, go to To license the IBD/TIPP Poll, please contact

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Carmen Mantalas

GMK Communications for IBD


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