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U.S. Economic Confidence Index Flat in May, at -14

U.S. Economic Confidence Index Flat in May, at -14

Chart: data points are described in article

Story Highlights

  • Index remained the same as in April
  • Democrats, Republicans at lowest levels of confidence since 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Americans' confidence in the U.S. economy was flat in May. Gallup's U.S. Economic Confidence Index averaged -14 -- the same as in April, which was a seven-month low.

Gallup's U.S. Economic Confidence Index -- Monthly Averages

The latest index score was quite a bit lower than the -7 registered one year earlier, in May 2015. This year's monthly scores have consistently been lower than the comparable months in 2015, and Americans' views of the national economy have consistently skewed negative since March 2015. Still, monthly index scores from the past couple of years have been well above most of the readings in Gallup's eight-year trend, particularly the dismally low ones recorded in the years after the Great Recession.

Examining the index on a weekly basis, however, reveals that confidence has recently improved somewhat. The past two weeks have both registered at -12, a minor improvement from the -14 to -16 weekly readings from mid-April to mid-May.

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.

In May, the current conditions score registered -5, one point higher than in April. This was the result of 25% of U.S. adults rating the current economy as "excellent" or "good," and 30% rating it as "poor." Meanwhile, the economic outlook score went down one point to -22. This was the result of 37% of U.S. adults saying the economy was "getting better" and 59% saying it was "getting worse."

Gallup's U.S. Economic Confidence Index Components -- Monthly Averages

Democrats, Republicans at Lowest Confidence Levels Since 2014

Each party group's index score in May was about 20 points down from where their scores were in early 2015. The latest monthly scores were Democrats' and Republicans' lowest levels of confidence since their respective lows in 2014.

Democrats' May index score (+9) represented another successive monthly decrease in confidence. While Democrats are still the only party group to have net positive views of the economy, the latest score was their lowest since July 2014.

Republicans' score of -42 was technically their lowest since March 2014 but was not markedly different from the -35 to -41 range they remained in from January to April.

Gallup's U.S. Economic Confidence Index, by Political Party

Bottom Line

Americans' confidence in the U.S. economy remains negative, although recent weekly readings of the index could mark a turning point. The consistent level of confidence reflects the balance of good and bad news from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' latest report -- job growth slowed in May, but the unemployment rate dipped to its lowest rate since 2007.

The Dow Jones industrial average is on the upswing, but so are gas prices. The latter, however, could merely be seasonal increases Americans are accustomed to seeing each spring and summer. Overall, Americans are nearly neutral in their assessments of how the national economy is currently doing. Their outlook for its future, however, remains negative.

These data are available in Gallup Analytics.

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted May 1-31, 2016, on the Gallup U.S. Daily survey, with a random sample of 15,700 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 ±1 percentage point 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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