WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Gallup's Economic Confidence Index averaged -15 for the week ending April 6. This reading is similar to last week's average of -16 but is higher than the -20 recorded in early March, the low point so far for 2014.
Though Americans' views of the economy were stagnant at the end of March, their optimism may have picked up in recent weeks, as suggested by their collective perception of an improving job market. Weekly index increases over the past month have been slight, but steady, and amount to a five-point gain since early March.
Though March began at a low point, Americans' economic confidence climbed and stayed at -18 for two weeks before improving to -16 last week. April had a better start, with an initial reading of -15.
Gallup's Economic Confidence Index is the average of two components: Americans' views on the current economic situation and their perceptions of whether the economy is getting better or worse. At this point, 20% of Americans say the economy is "excellent" or "good," and 34% say it is "poor." Meanwhile, 40% say the economy is getting better, and 55% say it is getting worse.
Americans' views of the current economic conditions edged up to a net of -14, from -16 last week. Their outlook for the economy remained at -15.
Economic confidence has been fairly steady throughout 2014, ranging narrowly between -13 in early January and -20 in March. However, there have been signs of slight improvement since the index fell to -20 in early March.
Despite less-than-encouraging news from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' recent jobs report, Gallup's Job Creation Index shows Americans' perceptions of the job market have improved. Given its rebound from the -20 recorded in March, the Economic Confidence Index could potentially see continued improvement in April. If Americans get more positive news about jobs, economic growth, and consumer spending, for example, it's possible that the index could escape negative territory, which it has yet to do since Gallup began tracking confidence daily in 2008.
Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted March 31-April 6, 2014, on the Gallup Daily tracking survey, with a random sample of 3,545 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.
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 time zone within region. Landline and cellular 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 most recent Current Population Survey figures for the aged 18 and older U.S. population. Phone status targets are based on the most recent National Health Interview Survey. Population density targets are based on the most recent U.S. 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.