WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Gallup's Economic Confidence Index is steady at -16, compared with -15 the prior week. The average index score for 2014 to date is also -16.
Last year at this time, economic confidence measured -17, very similar to the current score. After that, confidence increased to -3 in early June -- possibly due to a variety of positive economic signs -- before dropping to a low of -39 amid the partial government shutdown in October. Confidence improved through the end of 2013, but has been relatively stable since the beginning of 2014.
The index high so far in 2014 was -13 in early January, with a low of -20 in early March. The weekly index has not changed by more than three points in any week since the beginning of the year.
Gallup's Economic Confidence Index is the average of two components: Americans' views on the current economic situation and their perception of whether the economy is getting better or worse. This week, 19% of Americans say the current economy is "excellent" or "good," and 35% say the economy is "poor," resulting in a current conditions score of -16. Thirty-nine percent of Americans say the economy is getting better, while 55% say it is getting worse. This results in an economic outlook score of -16.
Over the past 12 months, the economic outlook score has shown more variation than the current conditions score. But over the last four weeks, neither score has changed by more than two points, and both scores have been within one point of each other. This is a switch from early May 2013, when the economic outlook score was considerably more positive than the current conditions score -- although that enthusiasm gradually faded during the summer as political conflict over the federal budget mounted.
Economic confidence has been relatively stable throughout 2014, especially over the last three weeks. The index remains negative, but not as drastically negative as seen last October, nor as positive as last June. Some economists are suggesting the current economic climate in the U.S. is a continuation of "the Great Moderation," a period prior to the Great Recession when the economy was slowly improving, but not enough to boost Americans' sense of economic security and opportunity.
The U.S. job market is slowly improving compared with a few years ago. Last month, Gallup's Job Creation Index reached a six-year high. At the same time, while consumer spending stalled in March, it remains above levels seen in prior years.
This new normal of slow but steady growth has led to an improvement in Americans' economic confidence in recent years. But, confidence has leveled off -- and Americans may need to see signs of more dramatic economic improvement to further boost their 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:
Read more about Gallup's economic measures.
View our economic release schedule.
Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted April 7-13, 2014, on the Gallup Daily tracking survey, with a random sample of 3,551 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.