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U.S. Economic Confidence Holds on to Prior Week's Gains

U.S. Economic Confidence Holds on to Prior Week's Gains
by Andrew Dugan

Story Highlights

  • Index steady at +8 last week after improving the previous week
  • Current conditions component near all-time high of +17

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Americans' level of confidence in the economy last week continued to be the highest Gallup has measured since mid-March. Gallup's U.S. Economic Confidence Index averaged +8 for the week ending Aug. 13. This score is similar to the score the week before, when the index climbed five points to hit +7, ending a three-month period in which confidence remained within a tight window of zero to +5.

Graph 1

Gallup's U.S. Economic Confidence Index is the average of two components: how Americans rate current economic conditions and whether they believe the economy is improving or getting worse. The index has a theoretical maximum of +100 if all Americans were to say the economy is doing well and improving, and a theoretical minimum of -100 if all were to say the economy is doing poorly and getting worse.

While confidence in the economy has remained positive throughout 2017 -- a sharp contrast to the mostly negative scores Gallup recorded from 2008 to 2016 -- it weakened in late March. Americans' worsening expectations for the economy, especially among Democrats, were behind the relative decline.

But in early August, prominent indicators pointed to a strengthening economy. The surging Dow Jones industrial average surpassed the 22,000 milestone for the first time on Aug. 2 and has remained near this level since. Additionally, an Aug. 4 Labor Department report found that the U.S. economy added 209,000 jobs in July, with the unemployment rate consequently falling to 4.3%.

Current Conditions Component Nears All-Time High

Last week, the current conditions component climbed one point to +16. This is just shy of the record-high +17 reached in mid-March 2017 after overall confidence soared to a nine-year high as the Dow Jones industrial average eclipsed the 21,000 mark. Five months later, the latest reading of the current conditions component reflects the 36% of Americans who say the economy is "excellent" or "good" compared with the 20% who say it is "poor."

The economic outlook component, meanwhile, registered -1 last week, with 46% of Americans saying the economy is "getting better" and 47% saying it is "getting worse." While still negative, this component has improved slightly since registering a yearly low of -8 for the week of June 26-July 2.

Graph 2

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Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Aug. 7-13, 2017, on the Gallup U.S. Daily survey, with a random sample of 3,505 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 70% cellphone respondents and 30% 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 the Gallup U.S. Daily works.

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