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Key U.S. Economic Assessments Strong, Stable

Key U.S. Economic Assessments Strong, Stable

Story Highlights

  • Economic Confidence Index at +31 in November
  • Fifty-five percent rate current economic conditions positively
  • Record-tying 68% say it is a good time to find a quality job

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Gallup's November update finds Americans' positive evaluations of the economy persisting, with current attitudes on key economic indicators among the best in the past two decades.

Fifty-five percent of Americans rate economic conditions as either excellent or good, while 14% describe them as poor, according to the Nov. 1-11 survey. Meanwhile, 57% say the economy is getting better compared with 36% who say it is getting worse.

The results of these two items are summarized in Gallup's Economic Confidence Index, which, at +31, is essentially unchanged from last month (+33) and continues to rank among the best measured since the dot-com boom in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Line graph. Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index of +31 is one of the best measured since 2000.

The new poll also finds 68% of Americans saying it is now "a good time to find a quality job," tying the record high from last month as well as July. For most of the 18 years during which Gallup has asked this question, less than half of Americans rated the job market positively. Not until February 2017 did the percentage surpass a majority. The record-low reading of 8% came in November 2009, when U.S. unemployment reached 25-year highs.

Line graph. A record-tying 68% of Americans say it is a good time to find a quality job.

Given Americans' rosy assessments of the economy and job market, it follows that relatively few Americans view economic matters as the most important problem facing the country. In response to Gallup's open-ended question, just 13% currently name any economic issue as the most important problem, essentially the same as the past three months, which include the record-low 12% from September. The prior low was 13% in May 1999. A record-high 86% of Americans mentioned an economic issue as the most important problem in February 2009, during the 2007-2009 Great Recession.

Line graph. Just 13% of Americans name an economic issue as the most important problem facing the U.S., near the record low.

Some of the specific economic issues Americans mention as the most important problem facing the country are the economy in general (4%), unemployment (3%) and the federal budget deficit (2%).

Bottom Line

Americans' assessments of the U.S. economy have trended upward over the past decade as unemployment has registered nearly 50-year lows, the stock market has reached record highs and the economy has had one of its longest sustained periods of expansion. Americans are not as exuberant about the economy as they were during the late 1990s and early 2000s, perhaps because the pace of economic growth has not been quite as fast as it was back then, with annual increases in the gross domestic product consistently below 4% compared with increases of 4% or better from 1997 through 2000. Additionally, at that time the U.S. federal budget had surpluses rather than deficits. Americans' memories of the Great Recession, or Democrats' concerns about President Donald Trump and his policies, may also be holding their present optimism about the economy in check. Even so, it has been nearly two decades since Americans have been as positive about the U.S. economy as they are now, and the recent volatility in the stock market so far appears to have done little to shake their confidence.

View complete question responses and trends.

Learn more about how the Gallup Poll Social Series works.

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