The CMC-Lowe Institute of Political Economy will release and livestream its quarterly report, the Los Angeles Consumer Index, in Roberts 102 on Thursday, August 3, at 11 a.m. The second quarter 2017 index release initiates a new cooperation between the Lowe Institute and Chapman University for future consumer sentiment indexes.
CMC’s Cameron Shelton, McMahon Family Associate Professor of Political Economy, George R. Roberts Fellow, and Director of the Lowe Institute, will moderate the event. Marc Weidenmier, the Lowe Institute’s former director, will deliver and interpret the data in a short presentation entiltled, “Trumponomics and Los Angeles Consumer Sentiment.”
The index is based on the findings of a survey of 500 people stratified by age, gender, ethnicity, income, and zip code. Questions gauge consumers’ overall attitude toward the economy and business conditions in Los Angeles County. Weidenmier, now Professor of Economics and Finance at Chapman University, notes that Los Angeles businesses and government leaders will find plenty of interest in this quarter’s index as particular groups seem to react strongly to current events.
In 2015, the Lowe Institute observed that an area the size of Los Angeles County, with more than 10 million residents, diverged from national consumer trends. Consumption accounts for 70 percent of the economic activity in the U.S. on average, so L.A. County, which houses the third largest metropolitan economy in the world, was apt to have its own index.
“Los Angeles is the only major metropolitan area in the United States with its own consumer sentiment survey,” said Robert J. Lowe, co-founder of the Lowe Institute and Chairman of national real estate company, Lowe Enterprises. “We decided the Institute would step-up and invest in providing this valuable economic tool.”
Lowe noted that Los Angeles’ economy diverges from other parts of the country, so national surveys would not accurately reflect Southern California’s economic climate. Historically, the Institute’s research has shown Los Angeles to be an indicator for the national economy. For example, previous indexes measured new car sales in the region, and observed that L.A. county consumers predicated national trends.
More information about the event and previous index reports can be found online.