Lowman S. Henry
Chairman

Robert W. Keibler
Vice Chairman

Jane R. Gordon
Secretary/Treasurer

Board Members

Jerry Bowyer
Allegheny Institute

James Canova
Canova Electric

LeGree S. Daniels
U.S. Postal Governor

Joseph Geiger
PA Assoc. of Non
Profit Organizations

Hilary Holste
PPG Industries

Charles L. Huston, III
Huston Foundation

Doris O'Donnell
Allegheny Foundation

Albert Paschall
King of Prussia
Chamber of Commerce

James Trammell
Sun Company, Inc.

__________

Survey Consultant
Albert E. Sindlinger
Sindlinger & Company

Focus Group Moderator
Charles L. Kennedy
Penn State University
__________

January 14, 2000

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

For More Information please contact:

Lowman S. Henry / (717) 671-0776


CONFIDENCE IN PA ECONOMY SOARS AS
MILLENNIUM BEGINS

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

of the year.  The President had a 62.0% positive job approval rating in January of 1999, and a 57.2% rating the end of December.  His popularity in 1999 bottomed out at 52.0% in September after reaching a high of 63.3% in March.

    
Despite being given credit for the strong U.S. economy, Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan saw his job approval rating erode by 9.5% during 1999.  His positive rating stood at 61.7% in January, peaked at 63.2% in February, then declined to 52.2% at the end of December.

      To determine the Pennsylvania Household Money Supply Index, Sindlinger & Company asks four questions relative to the respondent’s current and anticipated personal financial situation.  For a respondent household head to have positive Household Money Supply, he or she must report that:  (1) Total combined annual household income is now UP or the SAME as it was six months prior; and (2) Total combined annual household income in the next six months will remain the SAME or be UP from now; and (3) In the next six months will there be MORE or the SAME number of jobs where the respondent works; and (4) Business conditions in the next six months will be the SAME or BETTER where the respondent lives.  A negative response to one or more of the four key questions indicates that the respondent has negative HMS.

     The Lincoln Institute of Public Opinion Research, Inc., is a Harrisburg-based non-profit educational foundation that conducts public opinion research on key statewide and regional economic issues.  Results of Sindlinger’s polling and all Lincoln Institute polling and focus group projects can be found on-line at www.lincolninstitute.org.

 

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