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In U.S., Economic Confidence Index Drops Slightly to -7

In U.S., Economic Confidence Index Drops Slightly to -7

by Rebecca Riffkin

Story Highlights

  • Economic Confidence Index averaged -7 for week ending May 17
  • Ratings of current conditions dropped to -4
  • Views of the economic outlook steady at -10

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Gallup's Economic Confidence Index dropped slightly to -7 for the week ending May 17, 2015. There have been minor fluctuations in economic confidence in the last three weeks, but from a longer-range perspective, the key finding is that Americans' confidence in the economy remains depressed -- down from the highs it had reached in the period between late December and April.

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

While the Economic Confidence Index was significantly lower as recently as the fall of last year, it broke out of negative territory for the first time in over six years in late December. It remained slightly positive in January and February before losing its forward momentum and beginning its downward slide.

Gallup's Economic Confidence Index is the average of two components: Americans' views of current economic conditions and their perceptions of whether the U.S. economy is getting better or getting worse. The theoretical maximum for the index is +100, if all Americans say the economy is excellent or good and getting better. The theoretical minimum is -100, if all Americans say the economy is poor and getting worse.

The biggest drop this year has been in Americans' views of the future of the economy, as they have moved from a very optimistic position at the end of 2014 and in the first part of this year to a much more negative forecast. Americans' assessment of current conditions has remained somewhat more stable.

Economic Confidence Index Components -- Weekly Averages From May 2014

More specifically, Americans' ratings of the current economy dropped to -4 last week, which ties with two weeks prior to be the lowest found since late December 2014. This was the result of 25% of Americans saying the current economy is "excellent" or "good" and 29% saying it is "poor."

Americans' outlook for the economy was level at -10, similar to the -9 of the week prior. This was the result of 43% of Americans saying they thought the economy is "getting better" and 53% saying it is "getting worse."

Americans' economic confidence has rebounded from the drop of approximately two weeks ago after the U.S. government announced that GDP growth was flat in the first quarter. However, confidence is still not back to where it was in March and April. If anything, it fell back slightly this past week after mostly recovering from the sharper drop in late April/early May. Confidence is also down further from its recent highs at the end of 2014 and beginning of 2015, but even the current scores are well above where they were from 2008-2014.

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted May 11-17, 2015, on the Gallup U.S. Daily survey, with a random sample of 3,545 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. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.

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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