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Confidence in the Economy Rises Over Thanksgiving Week

Confidence in the Economy Rises Over Thanksgiving Week
by Andrew Dugan

Story Highlights

  • U.S. Economic Confidence Index averaged +11 last week
  • November average rises to +7 from October's +3
  • Economic outlook component positive for first time since August

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Americans' confidence in the economy spiked last week, with Gallup's U.S. Economic Confidence Index averaging +11 for the week ending Nov. 26 -- an increase of seven points from the previous reading of +4.

ECI_112817_graph1

Last week included the Thanksgiving holiday, one of the happiest days of the year for Americans, as Gallup has previously found. Gallup has typically seen a slight uptick in economic confidence on Thanksgiving as a result. During Thanksgiving week from 2008 through 2016, the index's weekly score has increased, on average, by 2.6 points from the prior week.

But last week's gain in economic confidence was more than twice as large as the average gain. This may be a result of the improving economy which, in turn, has allowed more Americans to have the resources to enjoy the holiday week by traveling or shopping. To that point, AAA estimated that the highest number of Americans traveled this past Thanksgiving week since 2005.

Likewise, retail sales occurring on Black Friday weekend were projected to grow by 47% this year. Gallup's broader look at Americans' estimated spending on Christmas gifts suggests retailers are in store for a strong holiday shopping season.

Economic confidence rose last week among various demographic and political subgroups, including some that have been pessimistic about the economy this year. This includes Democrats, whose confidence rose nine points last week, though it remained negative at -16. Similarly, confidence among Americans earning less than $36,000 a year stood at -6, compared with -16 the week before.

Confidence rose by more modest amounts among Republicans and Americans earning between $36,000 to less than $90,000. However, confidence did increase significantly among those making $90,000 or more, similar to the increase among those in the lowest income group.

Change in Gallup's U.S. Economic Confidence Index Over Thanksgiving Week, by Subgroup
Nov. 13-19 Nov. 20-26 Change
Party ID
Democrat/Lean Democrat -25 -16 +9
Republican/Lean Republican +44 +50 +6
Annual Household Income
Household earns less than $36,000 -16 -6 +10
Earns $36,000 to less than $90,000 +7 +10 +3
Earns $90,000 or more +19 +28 +9
GALLUP

Thanks to the recent uptick, the weekly average of Gallup's U.S. Confidence Index is now at its highest level since mid-August. This also closes a relatively strong month for the index, which averaged +7 in November (based on Oct. 30-Nov. 26 interviewing), the highest monthly score since March 2017 (+9). Gallup's U.S. Economic Confidence Index averaged +3 in October.

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.

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Nearly four in 10 Americans (37%) described the economy as "good" or "excellent" last week, while 19% characterized it as "poor." As a result, the current condition component rose five points to +18, tying its highest level since Gallup began tracking economic confidence in 2008.

Meanwhile, the economic outlook component not only improved last week, it crossed over into positive territory for the first time since mid-August. The component rose eight points to register +3 over Thanksgiving week, as 49% of Americans said the economy was "getting better" and 46% said the economy was "getting worse."

ECI_112817_graph3
Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Nov. 20-26, 2017, on the Gallup U.S. Daily survey, with a random sample of 1,504 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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