The Consumer Sentiment Index measures feelings and tells us about the economy : Planet Money We tend to think of economists as cold, unfeeling, attempting to be as rational as possible. But once a month, economists pick up the phone to just... check in with us. How are we feeling? Good, bad, worse than a year ago? It's a very specific phone call with very specific questions and a few years ago we looked into the origins of this very important survey that factors into economic decision making. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.

How Do You Feel? (Classic)

How Do You Feel? (Classic)

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Note: This story originally ran in April 2015.

Predicting the future may seem like a superpower, but it's actually something consumers do all the time when making big economic decisions. From switching jobs to purchasing a new home, people take into account their outlook on the economy before taking the plunge. Businesses know this, and use indicators that measure consumer sentiment to formulate their strategies.

In this classic episode, we revisit how rational economists try to deal with our feelings and the story of a man who came up with five simple questions that he hoped would predict the future.

Music: "The First of the Year," "Making Decisions" and "Satisfaction."

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