PRINCETON, NJ -- The Gallup Economic Confidence Index averaged -22 in June, down from -17 in May and reverting to the -22 recorded in February. Still, the index remains near the upper boundary of confidence reached since the start of 2008, and is substantially improved over the worst negative periods seen since that time.
Both Outlook and Current Ratings Up Slightly
Both components of the index -- Americans' ratings of current economic conditions and their perceptions of whether the economy is getting better or getting worse -- declined slightly in June. The -18 economic outlook rating reflects 38% of Americans saying the economy is improving and 56% saying it is getting worse. At the same time, 15% of Americans say the economy is in excellent or good shape, while 41% consider it poor, resulting in a -26 current conditions rating.
Americans' economic outlook in June averaged lower than in any month since January, while their rating of current conditions remained in the narrow range between -28 and -23 seen since March.
Confidence Slid Furthest Among Higher-Income Americans
Economic confidence declined in June at least slightly among every major income group, but fell most sharply among higher-income Americans.
The Gallup Economic Confidence Index declined eight points (from -9 to -17) among those making $90,000 or more annually, and 10 points (from -11 to -21) among those earning between $60,000 and $89,999. By contrast, it declined by no more than four points among those earning less than $60,000 per year.
Upper-income Americans' confidence is now at or near the lowest point seen in any month thus far in 2012, while lower-income Americans' confidence is still better than it was at the start of the year.
Confidence Ticked Up Slightly at End of June
Gallup's weekly averages show that confidence slid fairly steadily during the first three weeks of June -- from -18 for the week ending June 3 to -26 for the week ending June 24 -- before recovering slightly to -23 in the final week, ending July 1.
This pattern may reflect the disappointing government labor report at the beginning of June, and significant declines in the stock market during the third week of the month, followed by a slight rebound in the stock market at the end of the month.
While much improved compared with last summer -- when political conflict over raising the federal debt ceiling and mounting European economic troubles sent the U.S. stock market and consumer attitudes tumbling -- Americans' confidence remains more negative than positive. It is also having difficulty posting a monthly average better than -20. May's -17 monthly reading -- the highest in over four years -- proved temporary, likely due to the subsequent weak employment picture and stock market volatility in June. Which way confidence goes in July could well depend on the government's next labor report, coming out Friday morning.
Gallup.com reports results from these indexes in daily, weekly, and monthly averages and in Gallup.com stories. Complete trend data are always available to view and export in the following charts:
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Results are based on telephone interviews conducted as part of Gallup Daily tracking June 1-30 2012, with a random sample of 14,687 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, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±1 percentage point.
Interviews are conducted with respondents on landline telephones and cellular phones, with interviews conducted in Spanish for respondents who are primarily Spanish-speaking. Each sample includes a minimum quota of 400 cell phone respondents and 600 landline respondents per 1,000 national adults, with additional minimum quotas among landline respondents by region. Landline telephone numbers are chosen at random among listed telephone numbers. Cell phone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods. Landline respondents are chosen at random within each household on the basis of which member had the most recent birthday.
Samples are weighted by gender, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, education, region, adults in the household, and phone status (cell phone only/landline only/both, cell phone mostly, and having an unlisted landline number). Demographic weighting targets are based on the March 2011 Current Population Survey figures for the aged 18 and older non-institutionalized population living in U.S. telephone households. All reported margins of sampling error include the computed design effects for weighting and sample design.
In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.
For more details on Gallup's polling methodology, visit www.gallup.com.