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U.S. Economic Confidence Index at -5, Highest in 2014

U.S. Economic Confidence Index at -5, Highest in 2014

Story Highlights

  • Index up four points from previous week
  • Two points shy of post-recession weekly high from 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Gallup's U.S. Economic Confidence Index climbed to -5 for the week ending Dec. 21, up four points from the previous week. By one point, this is the highest index reading in 2014, and is two points shy of the post-recession high from 2013.

Gallup's U.S. Economic Confidence Index -- Weekly Averages in 2014

Gallup's three-day rolling averages during the week last week ranged from -9 to as high as -1, but finished at -6, similar to the weekly average.

Last week's increase in economic confidence puts the weekly index as close to positive territory as it has been in a year and a half, when it reached -3 in June 2013. Gallup has not recorded a positive weekly reading since it began tracking the index daily in 2008. The last several index figures have been noticeably higher than what Gallup found throughout the first 10 months of 2014, when readings ranged from -10 to -21.

Gallup's Economic Confidence Index is the average of two components: Americans' views of current economic conditions and their perceptions of whether the economy is getting better or worse. The current conditions component saw a four-point increase last week, while the outlook component increased by three points over the previous week.

For the week ending Dec. 21, 23% of Americans said the economy was "excellent" or "good," while 29% said it was "poor," resulting in a current conditions index score of -6. Meanwhile, 46% of Americans said the economy is "getting better" and 50% said it is "getting worse," resulting in an outlook score of -4.

Economic Confidence Index Components -- Weekly Averages in 2014

Bottom Line

As the end of 2014 nears, Americans' confidence in the economy is higher than it has been at almost any time over the past seven years. The highest index reading of the year comes on the heels of a good week for the Dow and the lowest gas prices since 2009. That positive economic news may also help explain President Barack Obama's improved 45% job approval rating last week, his best since May and a level he has not exceeded since August 2013.

With the index hovering so close to positive territory, it is not out of the realm of possibility that a positive reading is on the horizon -- especially given the December-to-January increases in confidence Gallup has found in previous years. Since 2008, the monthly index increases between the last and first months of the year have ranged between one and 11 points.

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Dec. 15-21, 2014, on the Gallup U.S. Daily survey, with a random sample of 3,549 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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