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U.S. Economic Confidence Index Continues Upward Trek

U.S. Economic Confidence Index Continues Upward Trek

by Justin McCarthy

Story Highlights

  • Index reaches record score of +4
  • Third consecutive index reading in positive territory
  • Half of Americans (50%) say the economy is "getting better"

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Gallup's U.S. Economic Confidence Index continues to show improvement, averaging +4 for the week ending Jan. 11. The index is up from +1 the week before, and is at its highest level since Gallup began tracking it daily in 2008. This is the index's third consecutive positive weekly reading.

Gallup's U.S. Economic Confidence Index -- Weekly Averages Since 2008

After nearly seven years in negative territory, the index first moved into positive territory in the final week of 2014. The index was +1 for the week of Dec. 29, 2014-Jan. 4, 2015, and has since improved another three points.

The latest figures maintain the long recovery the index has made over the past several years, rising from the low of -65 in October 2008 as the global economic crisis unfolded, as well as a startling drop to -39 amid the U.S. government shutdown in October 2013.

Gallup's Economic Confidence Index is based on Americans' assessments of current U.S. economic conditions and their perceptions of whether the economy is getting better or worse. It has a theoretical minimum of -100, if all Americans thought the economy was poor and getting worse, and a theoretical maximum of +100, if all Americans thought the economy was excellent or good and getting better.

For the week ending Jan. 11, 28% of Americans said the economy was "excellent" or "good," while 25% said it was "poor," resulting in a current conditions index score of +3 -- the highest score for this component since the first week of 2008. Meanwhile, the economic outlook component measured +5, up four points from the previous week, and is the highest Gallup has recorded since daily tracking began. The outlook score is the result of 50% of Americans saying the economy is "getting better" and 45% saying it is "getting worse."

Economic Confidence Index Components -- Weekly Averages From 2008 to 2015

Bottom Line

The year is young, but it's off to a good start, in terms of Americans' confidence in the economy. With three positive readings in a row, the index has clearly made progress, although there is much room to improve. Certainly falling gas prices -- now at their lowest average since April 2009 -- are contributing, as well as lower unemployment and improved GDP growth.

The latest index figures are positive, but not overwhelmingly so. However, the overall positive evaluations of the economy have persisted now for three weeks in a row, suggesting some staying power. Continued positive economic news will likely keep Gallup's economic index score in positive territory, although a sudden burst of negative news could easily send it back down. However, with Americans spending more and rating their standard of living at new highs, consumer behavior should help the economy avoid backsliding.

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Jan. 5-11, 2015, on the Gallup U.S. Daily survey, with a random sample of 3,551 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 ±2 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.

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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