Columnist : Lincoln Institute

PA Household Money Supply Index Hits 70% for the First Time Ever

     Harrisburg (PA) – The Pennsylvania Household Money Supply (HMS) Index capped a year-long rally at the end of December by hitting the 70% mark for the first time in the index’s history.  The HMS Index is a barometer of consumer confidence in the state’s economy.   Wallingford, PA-based Sindlinger & Company has produced the index since 1948.

     Pollster/economist Al Sindlinger, who now conducts the PA HMS Index for the Lincoln Institute of Public Opinion Research, Inc., said the economy has not only reached new heights, “but still has considerable upward momentum as we begin the new millennium.”

     The Pennsylvania Household Money Supply Index has risen steadily for the past two and a half years, but the rise in consumer confidence quickened significantly during 1999.  The PA HMS Index stood at 45.4% in January of 1999, passed 60% in May, and ended December at 70.0%.

Sindlinger credits the “wealth effect” of the stock market for the index’s upward surge.  Pennsylvania has a substantially higher ratio of stock owning households than most other states.  “Not only is consumer spending showing little signs of slowing, but the Internet seems suddenly to have come of age and investment in its infrastructure is adding materially to U.S. growth,” Sindlinger explained.

     Consumer confidence in Pennsylvania’s economy outpaced that of consumer confidence nationwide.  The national HMS Index, which began 1999 higher than the PA HMS Index at 46.9% ended the year at 67.0%

     Statewide polling conducted by Sindlinger for the Lincoln Institute also found President Bill Clinton ending 1999 with a statewide job approval rating 4.8% lower than at the beginning