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U.S. Economic Confidence Remains on Lower End for 2015

U.S. Economic Confidence Remains on Lower End for 2015

by Rebecca Riffkin

Story Highlights

  • Index averaged -14 last week, similar to weekly averages since July
  • Economic confidence up three points from prior week's drop
  • Americans remain pessimistic about the outlook of the economy

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Gallup's U.S. Economic Confidence Index averaged -14 for the week ending Sept. 6. This is up slightly from the 11-month low of -17 found the week prior, but remains on the lower end of scores found in 2015.

U.S. Economic Confidence Index -- Weekly Averages Since September 2014

Gallup's Economic Confidence Index began the year in positive territory for the first time since the recession. This continued the trend of increasing confidence that began in late 2014, following a steady decline in gas prices. As gas prices began to rise in late February, Americans' confidence in the economy started to fall.

The index remained above -10 until July. It has stayed below that level since -- including a -17 score for the week ending Aug. 30, when doubts about China's economy made the U.S. stock market fall sharply.

Gallup's Economic Confidence Index is based on the combined responses to two questions, the first asking Americans to rate economic conditions in this country today, and the second asking whether they think economic conditions in the country as a whole are getting better or getting worse. The index has a theoretical maximum of +100, if all Americans were to rate the economy as "excellent" or "good" and "getting better," and a theoretical minimum of -100, if all Americans were to rate the economy as "poor" and "getting worse."

Americans' Economic Outlook Improves

The economic outlook score increased slightly to -20 from -25 the week prior. This week's score is the result of 38% of Americans saying the economy is getting better and 58% saying it is getting worse.

The current conditions score registered -8, on par with scores measured the past few weeks. This is based on 23% of Americans rating the economy as excellent or good, and 31% rating it as poor. Since March, Americans' views of current economic conditions have been more positive than their economic outlook.

U.S. Economic Confidence Index Components -- Weekly Averages Since September 2014

Bottom Line

Gallup's Economic Confidence Index has ranged from -11 to -17 since early July, the lowest scores recorded since October 2014. While the volatile U.S. stock market has dropped significantly since July, the broad downturn in economic confidence began much earlier this year. The index fell back into negative territory in late February, and therefore does not appear to be a direct result of stock market shifts.

These data are available in Gallup Analytics.

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Aug. 31-Sept. 6, 2015, on the Gallup U.S. Daily 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. 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 the Gallup U.S. Daily works.

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