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U.S. Economic Confidence Is Once Again Positive, at +4

U.S. Economic Confidence Is Once Again Positive, at +4
by Andrew Dugan

Story Highlights

  • Gallup's U.S. Economic Confidence Index rose five points last week
  • Current conditions component at +14, up from +9
  • Economic outlook component at -6, up from -11

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Americans' assessments of the economy improved last week, lifting Gallup's U.S. Economic Confidence Index back into positive territory, averaging +4 for the week ending Oct. 22, only one week after the measure recorded the first negative score in 2017.

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Gallup's U.S. Economic Confidence Index is the average of two components: how Americans rate current economic conditions and whether they feel 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.

Gallup's U.S. Economic Confidence Index has been negative for most of the time since tracking began in 2008. However, 2017 bucked that trend, and two weeks ago the score fell into negative territory for the first time this year with a weekly average of -1, perhaps in response to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report that the economy lost 33,000 jobs in September.

Last week's jump in confidence was also the index's best one-week improvement since the first week of August, when the index also rose five points. The only other week in 2017 where Gallup's U.S. Economic Confidence Index improved by a similar or better margin occurred in early March, when confidence rose seven points to a nine-year high of +16.

Notably, the Dow Jones industrial average hit record highs on all three of the weeks that economic confidence registered larger-than-usual improvements this year. The latest milestone was crossed this past Tuesday, when the Dow Jones closed above 23,000 for the first time, after surpassing the 22,000 mark Aug. 2 and the 21,000 level on March 1.

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Current Conditions and Economic Outlook Components Improve

Americans' assessments of current economic conditions brightened last week, with this component of the index climbing five points to +14. This reflects 35% of U.S. adults describing the economy as "excellent" or "good," and 21% rating it "poor."

The economic outlook component also improved -- it finished at -6 last week compared with the previous week's -11 score -- though it remained negative. More Americans continue to see the economy as "getting worse" (51%) than "getting better" (45%).

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Bottom Line

Americans' confidence in the economy returned last week. The shattering of another record by the Dow Jones is likely one reason why, as economic confidence has risen when the Dow Jones has reached milestones in the past.

This boost may be short-lived, given what occurred after prior stock market records were hit. When the Dow Jones hit 21,000 in early March, economic confidence climbed to +16, but within three weeks it had fallen to +5. Likewise, the rise in economic confidence in August that accompanied the Dow Jones hitting 22,000 vanished quickly, with the measure back to its prior levels within four weeks.

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Oct. 16-22, 2017, on the Gallup U.S. Daily survey, with a random sample of 3,006 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 ±3 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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