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U.S. Economic Confidence Index Dips to -13

U.S. Economic Confidence Index Dips to -13

Chart: data points are described in article

Story Highlights

  • Index down four points from previous week
  • Economic outlook score dropped six points to -20

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Americans' confidence in the economy dipped last week, with the U.S. Economic Confidence Index averaging -13 for the week ending March 27. This score is down from -9 the previous week.

U.S. Economic Confidence Index -- Weekly Averages Since March 2015

Since July, Americans' economic confidence has remained fairly steady, apart from a couple of exceptions in late August and mid-January. Before falling back to -13 last week, index scores in recent weeks began to show signs of improving confidence. The terrorist attacks in Brussels last week could have shaken Americans' confidence in the long-term stability of the global or U.S. economy. Confidence remains below where it was in early 2015, when weekly index scores were positive or just slightly negative.

Gallup's U.S. Economic Confidence Index is the average of two components: how Americans rate current economic conditions and whether they feel the economy is improving or getting worse. The index has a theoretical maximum of +100 if all Americans say the economy is doing well and improving, and a theoretical minimum of -100 if all Americans say the economy is doing poorly and getting worse.

For the week ending March 27, the current conditions score of -5 was on the lower end of the range for this component so far in 2016. This score was based on 24% of Americans rating the current economy as "excellent" or "good," and 29% rating it as "poor." The economic outlook score was -20, resulting from 38% of U.S. adults saying the economy is "getting better" and 58% saying it is "getting worse." The -20 score represents a six-percentage-point drop from the prior week's reading of -14 on this component.

U.S. Economic Confidence Index Components -- Weekly Averages Since March 2015

Bottom Line

The attacks in Brussels cast a dark shadow over last week, which could perhaps have tainted Americans' optimism in their views of more than just their physical safety -- such as their country's financial stability. The Dow Jones industrial average also suffered in the aftermath of the attacks but has since begun to recover.

Meanwhile, the low gas prices Americans have enjoyed for months have started to climb back up. Although Americans largely stashed the savings they received at the pump in recent months, that doesn't make saying goodbye to low prices any easier. It's quite possible that Americans had become so accustomed to cheap gas that any sign of a price increase could influence their assessment of the economy. However, it is unclear whether Americans expect seasonal changes in gas prices or if they attribute those increases to a problem with the economy.

These data are available in Gallup Analytics.

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted March 21-27, 2016, on the Gallup U.S. Daily survey, with a random sample of 3,038 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 60% cellphone respondents and 40% 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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