The Money Anxiety Index decreased 0.1 index points to 73.9 in June, indicating a slight improvement in the level of financial anxiety among consumers. The improvement in the Money Anxiety Index is attributed in part to the positive employment report for May showing an increase of 217,000 non-farm jobs.
The June decrease in the level of consumer financial anxiety is in contrast to a substantial increase of 1.3 index points during the first quarter of this year. During the first quarter, the Money Anxiety Index increased from 77.7 in January to 79.0 in March of this year. The increase in consumer financial anxiety in the first quarter is clearly reflected in a negative 1.0 percent in real GDP. Moreover, without the substantial increase in services expenditures, which were driven primarily by the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, first quarter GDP would have been closer to negative two percent.
The outlook for the second quarter is positive. With the harsh weather conditions of the first quarter behind us, and significant increases of 288,000 jobs in April and 217,000 in May, the stage is set for a strong GDP showing in the second quarter of this year.