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U.S. Economic Confidence Unchanged in October, at +3

U.S. Economic Confidence Unchanged in October, at +3
by Justin McCarthy

Story Highlights

  • October average at +3, similar to September's average
  • Economic outlook component of -7 in October is lowest in 2017
  • Confidence slightly better in past week

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Americans' confidence in the U.S. economy tilted slightly positive in October, with Gallup's U.S. Economic Confidence Index at +3 for the month. Though the index's current reading is on the low end of what Gallup has measured for 2017 so far, it remains well above the mostly negative ratings recorded from 2008 to 2016.

OctECI_graph1

Confidence was higher earlier in the year as President Donald Trump's inauguration renewed economic hopes among Republicans.

Weekly index ratings in October show the varying degrees of confidence Americans had in the national economy over the course of the month. In early October, Americans' confidence dipped into negative territory, for the first and only time so far in 2017, before recovering in subsequent weeks.

The latest weekly reading for the week ending Nov. 5 was +7, the highest level of confidence since mid-August.

OctECI_graph2

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.

Last month, 34% of Americans described the economy as "excellent" or "good," while 22% described it as "poor." This resulted in a current conditions component of +12 for October -- consistent with the +11 to +14 range this component has remained within since July.

Meanwhile, a majority of Americans said the economy was "getting worse" (51%), compared with a smaller 44% who said it is "getting better." As a result, the economic outlook component equaled -7 in October, one of the lower readings in the past year.

OctECI_graph3

Last week, roughly as many Americans said the economy was getting better (47%) as said it was getting worse (48%), resulting in an improved outlook score of -1. The current conditions score for Oct. 30-Nov. 5 was +14, based on 36% rating economic conditions as excellent or good and 22% as poor.

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Bottom Line

Americans' confidence in the U.S. economy was barely positive in October but is off to a stronger start in November. According to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics report, the U.S. unemployment rate has dipped to 4.1% -- the lowest in nearly 17 years. Meanwhile, the stock market remains on a tear, with the Dow Jones industrial average up more than 5,000 points from where it was one year ago.

The strong weekly reading at the start of November could suggest a real shift toward more positive views of the U.S. economy. But given the choppy weekly index readings in recent weeks, it is too soon to say.

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Oct. 2-29, 2017, on the Gallup U.S. Daily survey, with a random sample of 10,033 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 the Gallup U.S. Daily works.

Gallup


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