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U.S. Economic Confidence Index at 17-Month High

U.S. Economic Confidence Index at 17-Month High

by Justin McCarthy

Story Highlights

  • Index reaches -8, nearing previous high of -7
  • Upper-income Americans reach new high in confidence
  • Democrats continue to be more confident than Republicans

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Gallup's U.S. Economic Confidence Index climbed to -8 in November, the highest monthly reading in nearly a year and a half. The index in November essentially matches the post-recession high of -7 in May 2013.

Gallup Economic Confidence Index -- Monthly Averages

This is the monthly index's fourth consecutive improvement after a long year of fairly stagnant readings. Until October, the index had remained in a narrow range of -14 to -17.

Though the index remains in negative territory, November is the closest it has come to breaking into positive territory in quite some time. The current reading is the second-highest monthly reading since Gallup began tracking the index daily in January 2008. November saw higher weekly scores than at any point in the past year and a half, with a weekly high of -6 for the week ending Nov. 16. The month ended with a score of -8 for the week ending Nov. 30.

Gallup's Economic Confidence Index is the average of two components: how Americans view current economic conditions, and their perceptions of whether the economy is getting better or worse. In November, 24% said the economy is "excellent" or "good," while 30% said it is "poor," resulting in a current conditions score of -6, the highest current conditions score since January 2008.

Meanwhile, 43% of Americans said the economy is "getting better," while 52% said it is "getting worse." This resulted in an economic outlook score of -9 -- the best outlook score since July 2013.

Gallup Economic Confidence Sub-Indexes -- Monthly Averages

Upper-Income Americans Show Highest Economic Confidence to Date

Confidence among lower- and middle-income Americans climbed three points from October, to a current score of -11, and among higher-income Americans, it rose four points to +6. Upper-income Americans, those who make $90,000 a year or more, also had positive index scores of +5 in May and June of 2013.

Economic Confidence Index Scores by Income

Democrats Continue to Be More Confident Than Republicans

Democrats' index scores continue to be in positive territory, averaging +16 in November, down slightly from +20 in October. This reflects a common pattern in which Americans who identify with the political party controlling the White House tend to score much higher than others on economic confidence.

Republicans continue to be much more negative about the economy than Democrats, with an index score of -33 for November, but this does show a slight improvement from -37 in October. Independents' economic confidence, which, at -9, registers about halfway between that of Republicans and Democrats, is significantly better than at any other point in the past year.

Economic Confidence Index Scores by Political Party

Bottom Line

November's economic confidence reading brings more promising news for those watching the index's movement. The consecutive monthly increases in economic confidence come as gas prices continue to drop and are slated to fall below $2 a gallon in some parts of the country. Additionally, the Dow rose 2.5% in November.

There's no question that Americans' economic confidence has improved since the recession, but they still evaluate the economy negatively overall, as has been the case consistently over the past seven years.

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Nov. 1-30, 2014, on the Gallup U.S. Daily survey, with a random sample of 14,683 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±1 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.

Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 50% cellphone respondents and 50% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods.

Learn more about how Gallup Daily tracking works.

Gallup


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