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In U.S., Economic Confidence Index Climbs to -8

In U.S., Economic Confidence Index Climbs to -8

by Rebecca Riffkin

Story Highlights

  • Highest weekly index since the -7 found at the end of June 2013
  • Current conditions score one of the highest since 2008
  • Economic outlook score one of the highest in 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- In the U.S., Gallup's Economic Confidence Index averaged -8 for the week ending Nov. 9. This is the highest weekly average found since the week ending June 30 of last year, and continues the upward trend in confidence that began in late September.

Gallup's U.S. Economic Confidence Index -- Weekly Averages Since June 30, 2013

Prior to late September, the weekly Economic Confidence Index had been largely stable in 2014, averaging -16 and ranging narrowly between -13 and -21. Since a -18 index score for the week ending Sept. 21, confidence has generally increased.

With the recent improvements, the index is now just five points below the -3 Gallup found at the beginning of June 2013, the highest weekly reading since daily tracking began in 2008.

Gallup's Economic Confidence Index is the average of two components: Americans' views of current economic conditions and whether they think the economy will get better or will get worse. The index has a theoretical maximum of +100 -- if all Americans rated current conditions as excellent or good and thought the economy was getting better -- and a theoretical minimum of -100, if all Americans rated current conditions as poor and thought the economy was getting worse. The current score of -8 indicates that overall, Americans are still more negative than positive about the state of the U.S. economy.

Both components of the index increased last week, and the current conditions score is one of the highest Gallup has found since daily tracking began, basically tied with a -6 reading in early February 2008.

For the week ending Nov. 9, 24% of Americans said the economy was "excellent" or "good," while 29% said it was poor. This resulted in a current conditions score of -5, up from -9 the week prior.

The economic outlook score also increased, to -10, after dipping to -13 the week before. This was the result of 42% of Americans saying the economy was getting better, while 52% said it was getting worse. It is similar to the -11 found two weeks ago and is one of the highest economic outlook scores found in 2014.

Economic Confidence Index Components -- Weekly Averages for 2014

Since mid-June, Americans have generally been more positive in their ratings of current economic conditions than in their ratings of the direction the economy is headed. From mid-March to mid-June, they rated both about equally, and earlier in the year, Americans were generally more optimistic about the economic outlook than about current conditions.

Bottom Line

Americans' economic confidence continues to improve and now has reached a level not seen since the summer of 2013, which was the best of the post-recession era. Falling gas prices in much of the country, reports of the strongest six months of economic growth in a decade, and additional positive employment figures and lower unemployment seen so far in 2014 could be major reasons for the recent improvement in confidence. Should that encouraging economic news continue, it is possible that Americans will finally become more positive than negative about the nation's economy.

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Nov. 3-9, 2014, on the Gallup U.S. Daily 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, the margin of sampling error is ±2 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.

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.

Learn more about how Gallup Daily tracking works.

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