WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Gallup's U.S. Economic Confidence Index was stable last week at -16, similar to the -17 seen the week prior and -15 at the start of August.
So far in 2014, the index has averaged -16 and, except for two weeks when it descended to -20 or lower, it has registered within three points above or below the current level all year. The most recent dip -- to -21 in late July -- may have reflected consumer anxiety about the troubled international scene coupled with some decline in the stock market. But that was a one-week event, as the index has since rebounded.
From a longer-range perspective, Americans have rated the economy more positively in 2014 than in past years, particularly compared with the recessionary period from 2008 to 2009. The index was -65 in October 2008, just after the U.S. stock market saw a major drop. However, in June 2013, the index was -3, the highest weekly average in six years of Gallup Daily tracking of economic confidence. Last year in mid-August, the index was -13, similar to last week's finding.
Gallup's Economic Confidence Index is the average of two components: Americans' views of the current economic situation and their perceptions about whether the economy is getting better or getting worse. The theoretical maximum score is +100, if all Americans thought the economy was "excellent" or "good" and "getting better." The theoretical minimum score is -100, if all Americans said the economy was "poor" and "getting worse."
In the week ending Aug. 17, 2014, 3% of Americans said the economy was excellent and 18% said it was good, however 35% said it was poor. This resulted in a current conditions score of -14, up slightly from -16 the week before. Meanwhile, 39% of Americans said the economy was getting better while 56% said it was getting worse. This resulted in an economic outlook score of -17, similar to the -18 the week before.
Gallup's Economic Confidence Index is a summary measure of how Americans feel about the economy. So far in 2014, the weekly averages have been stable, registering in moderately negative territory. Other Gallup economic metrics, on the other hand, have been showing positive signs. For example, Gallup's Job Creation Index reached a six-year high in July and reported daily spending increased in July. Non-economic events largely dominated the news last week, as attention turned to the riots in Ferguson, Missouri, the conflict in Iraq, and the Ebola outbreak in Africa. Americans may pay more attention to the economy if things drastically improve, or get drastically worse.
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.
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Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Aug. 11-17, 2014, on the Gallup Daily tracking survey, with a random sample of 3,529 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 ±2 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.