WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Gallup's U.S. Economic Confidence Index was -8 last week, matching the five-year weekly high set the week ending Feb. 3. The current score is up from -13 the previous week.
Americans' confidence in the economy steadily improved throughout the week, even before Friday, when the BLS report showing a decline in unemployment came out and the Dow Jones and S&P 500 hit record highs. Gallup Daily tracking three-day rolling averages show that economic confidence reached -4 toward the end of last week -- the highest three-day average since Gallup began Daily tracking in 2008. The latest update, for May 3-5 polling, showed confidence dipping back down to -7.
Monthly U.S. economic confidence in April also matched the five-year monthly high of -13, tying February, January, and last November. Economic confidence in April was up from -16 in March, with the budget sequester, which began March 1, likely affecting the March reading. The recovery in April to the levels seen in January and February suggests the impact of the sequester may have been offset by the gains in stock values.
Upper-Income Americans' Confidence Hits New Five-Year Monthly High
Upper-income Americans' economic confidence in April pushed out of negative territory for the first time. Middle- and lower-income Americans' economic confidence remained in negative territory at -16 in April, compared with -18 in March and -14 in February.
Gallup's Economic Confidence Index last week matched the five-year weekly high and included the best three-day rolling average since Gallup began Daily tracking in 2008. Economic confidence in April also tied the five-year monthly best, and upper-income Americans' monthly confidence left negative territory for the first time in five years.
Americans' confidence in the economy is off to a strong start in May, likely due to continued record stock values as well as the generally positive news coverage of the BLS jobs report. The BLS report estimated a 7.5% April unemployment rate -- a four-year low. Furthermore, U.S. job creation has remained in higher territory, a majority of Americans are optimistic about home prices increasing in their local area, and self-reported consumer spending this year has increased modestly. And, the majority of Americans are still not concerned about the impact of federal budget sequestration cuts on the country or their personal financial situation, which some experts feared would negatively affect Americans' confidence in the economy.
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 the Gallup Daily tracking survey April 1-30, 2013, with a random sample of 15,241 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, selected using random-digit-dial sampling.
For monthly results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the margin of sampling error is ±1 percentage point.
For weekly results based on the total weekly sample of interviews conducted April 29-May 5, 2013, with 3,566 national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the margin of sampling error is ±2 percentage points.
For daily results based on the total rolling three-day samples of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points.
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 of national adults includes a minimum quota of 50% cellphone respondents and 50% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by region. Landline telephone numbers are chosen at random among listed telephone numbers. Cellphone 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 to correct for unequal selection probability, nonresponse, and double coverage of landline and cell users in the two sampling frames. They are also weighted to match the national demographics of gender, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, education, region, population density, and phone status (cellphone only/landline only/both, cellphone mostly, and having an unlisted landline number). Demographic weighting targets are based on the March 2012 Current Population Survey figures for the aged 18 and older U.S. population. Phone status targets are based on the July-December 2011 National Health Interview Survey. Population density targets are based on the 2010 census. All reported margins of sampling error include the computed design effects for weighting.
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.