WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Gallup's Economic Confidence Index was -13 last week, declining to the levels seen during most of July and August, after a slightly better reading two weeks ago. The current index reading is 10 points lower than the peak reached in late May and early June.
From a longer-term perspective, the current index of -13 is near the middle of the range measured this year. The low point of -22 came in late February and early March, as automatic federal budget cuts that were part of sequestration took effect, while the high point of -3 occurred in late May and early June amid record-high U.S. stock prices and increased optimism about home values.
Consumers' confidence generally waned in June and July, with the U.S. stock market displaying more volatility in June as a result of the speculation on whether the Federal Reserve would cut back its bond-buying program. Additionally, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced mixed employment reports for May and June, mortgage rates increased, and gas prices ticked up in many areas.
Americans' Perceptions of Current Conditions and Their Economic Outlook Worsen
Gallup's Economic Confidence Index is based on Americans' responses to two questions asking them to rate economic conditions in the country today, and whether they think economic conditions are getting better or worse. Both index components fell last week.
Americans' net rating of current economic conditions was -15 last week, representing 19% who say the economy is "excellent" or "good" and 34% who say it is "poor." This rating is down from -12 the prior week, but on par with the relatively low ratings Gallup measured in July.
Last week, the net economic outlook rating declined to -11, with 42% saying the economy is "getting better" and 53% saying it is "getting worse" -- down from -7 the prior week, but similar to most July ratings.
Americans' confidence in the economy remains lower than it was in late May and early June. Higher mortgage rates and the BLS announcement of a tepid jobs report for July are likely contributing to continued lower confidence in August.
Still, the public's lower confidence has not dampened consumer spending so far in August. In fact, Gallup found that Americans' self-reported daily spending has increased in the early part of month to an average of $103 per day.
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 for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Aug. 12-18, 2013, on the Gallup Daily tracking survey, with a random sample of 3,548 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 margin of sampling error is ±2 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 and cell telephone 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, and cellphone mostly). 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.