WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Gallup's U.S. Economic Confidence Index remained at -16 for April, roughly matching the scores seen each month since January.
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. The theoretical high is 100, if all Americans were to say the economy is "excellent" or "good" and that it is getting better; the theoretical low is -100, if all Americans were to say the economy is "poor" and getting worse.
The April results are based on Gallup Daily tracking interviews with more than 15,000 U.S. adults. Gallup has been tracking Americans' confidence in the economy daily since the start of 2008. In that time, the monthly index score has ranged from a high of -7 in May 2013 to a low of -60 in October 2008 during the economic recession.
In April, one in five Americans (20%) rated the economy as excellent or good, while 34% rated it as poor, for a current conditions score of -14, up slightly from last month's -17. Meanwhile, 39% of Americans said the economy is getting better, while 56% said it is getting worse, for an economic outlook score of -17, the same as in March.
Economic Confidence Picked Up in the Past Week
The latest monthly index score may not reveal a great deal of movement, but on a weekly basis, confidence was higher than usual in the last week of the month. After averaging -17 for April 21-27, confidence increased by three points to -14 for April 28-May 4. This increase in confidence may have stemmed from a promising April jobs report from the government saying the U.S. unemployment rate has dropped to 6.3%, the lowest rate recorded since 2008.
Though economic confidence has been stagnant since the onset of 2014, it could be poised for improvement -- average monthly confidence has risen in May in four of the past five years. May tends to bring higher consumer spending as well as an uptick in job creation. In some cases, such as in 2013, the boost represented a turning point for confidence; in other years, like 2012, the boost was short-lived.
So far this May, confidence is improving, with an average index score of -13 for the last three days of interviewing, all subsequent to the government's most recent jobs report, which showed a sharp decline in the unemployment rate. The extent to which that report is viewed in positive or negative terms could determine the trajectory of economic confidence for the rest of May. Or, seasonal factors related to the typical burst in confidence seen in May could override concerns about unemployment.
Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted April 1-30, 2014, on the Gallup Daily tracking survey, with a random sample of 14,704 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 ±1 percentage point 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.