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Americans' Confidence in the Economy Steady Last Week

Americans' Confidence in the Economy Steady Last Week
by Andrew Dugan

Story Highlights

  • Gallup's U.S. Economic Confidence Index at +3 for week ending Oct. 29
  • Current conditions component at +11
  • Economic outlook component at -6

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Americans' confidence in the U.S. economy continued to tilt slightly positive last week. For the week ending Oct. 29, Gallup's U.S. Economic Confidence Index stood at +3, on par with the previous week's reading of +4. The measure has remained in positive territory for two weeks in a row, after briefly dipping to -1 during the week of Oct. 9-15.

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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.

In general, Americans have been more positive about the economy in 2017 compared with any other year since Gallup began tracking economic confidence in 2008. Between 2008 and November 2016, the index's weekly averages were routinely negative. Only after the 2016 presidential election did the measure swing to the other side of the ledger, where it has remained for most of 2017 so far.

The notable exception to this pattern occurred two weeks ago, when the index briefly fell below zero, possibly related to a government report released that week showing the economy lost 33,000 jobs in September. Confidence rallied the next week, though, possibly in reaction to the Dow Jones industrial average topping 23,000 for the first time.

There was high-profile economic news last week as well, but it does not appear to have changed overall public sentiment about the economy. The Commerce Department reported on Friday that the U.S. economy grew at annual rate of 3% in the third quarter of 2017, exceeding expectations.

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Current Component at +11 Last Week; Economic Outlook at -6

Last week, 33% of Americans described the economy as "excellent" or "good," while 22% described it as "poor." As a result, the current conditions component registered +11 for the week, similar to +14 from the week before.

Americans' expectations for the economy were unchanged last week, with the outlook component at -6 for the second week in a row. The negative score is a result of more Americans continuing to believe the economy is "getting worse" (50%) than "getting better" (44%).

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Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Oct. 23-29, 2017, on the Gallup U.S. Daily survey, with a random sample of 3,011 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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