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U.S. Economic Confidence Surges, Then Declines, in August

U.S. Economic Confidence Surges, Then Declines, in August
by Andrew Dugan

Story Highlights

  • Gallup's U.S. Economic Confidence Index at +6 in August
  • Confidence higher in first half of month, lower in second half

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Americans' confidence in the U.S. economy varied in August but was not remarkably different from economic attitudes in July. Gallup's U.S. Economic Confidence Index was +6 in August, just slightly higher than the +4 recorded in July.

Gallup's U.S. Monthly Economic Confidence Index

Though 2017 has generally been a strong year for Gallup's U.S. Economic Confidence Index, the metric has stagnated in recent months. From May through July, confidence averaged no higher than +4 on a monthly basis -- down from January's record high of +11 -- and no better than +5 on a weekly basis.

In the beginning of August, economic optimism appeared to be on the rise again. During the first week of the month, Jul. 31-Aug. 6, economic confidence climbed five points to +7, likely in response to the Dow Jones Industrial Average surpassing the 22,000 mark for the first time in the indicator's history on Aug. 2. Then, in the third week of August, Gallup's U.S. Economic Confidence Index notched up to +11, the highest weekly score since mid-March.

However, economic confidence soon returned to the single-digits range, falling seven points to +4 during the week of Aug. 21-27. Last week, Americans' confidence in the economy stayed stable at this lower level, averaging +3 for the week ending Sept. 3.

Gallup's U.S. Economic Confidence Index Weekly Averages May to September

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.

Last month, 35% of Americans described current economic conditions as "excellent" or "good," while 21% assessed them as "poor." Overall, the current conditions component of Gallup's U.S. Economic Confidence Index stood at +14 for the month, slightly better than July's +11 and the highest monthly average for this component since 2008.

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Slightly more Americans, meanwhile, continued to say the economy was "getting worse" (48%) than "getting better" (46%) in August. This leaves the economic outlook component at -2 for the month, essentially no different from its performance in July (-4).

Gallup's U.S. Economic Confidence Index Components

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted July 31-Sept. 3, 2017, on the Gallup U.S. Daily survey, with a random sample of 17,534 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 point 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 Gallup Daily tracking works.

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