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Economic Confidence Shows Slight Uptick; Still Negative

Economic Confidence Shows Slight Uptick; Still Negative

Story Highlights

  • Economic Confidence Index improves from -45 to -39
  • Public less negative about current conditions and direction of economy
  • Optimism about the job market dips to the lowest since April 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Americans’ assessments of the U.S. economy improved slightly in November and early December but remain decidedly negative. Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index increased from -45 in October to -39 in the latest survey. The index had been as low as -58 in June this year. Americans continue to be less confident about the economy now than they were in 2021 and early 2022.


From a broader historical perspective, Americans’ recent economic confidence scores have been among the worst Gallup has measured since the 2007-2009 recession, which included a record-low -72 in October 2008 during the financial crisis that exacerbated an already bad economic situation.

The latest estimate is based on a Nov. 9-Dec. 2 poll, conducted after this year’s midterm elections. The poll came as gas prices have declined significantly from their peak in June. However, prices for gas and most goods remain elevated after a year of persistent inflation. The majority of Americans continue to say they have experienced financial hardship because of rising prices.

Ratings of Current Conditions, Economic Direction Improved

Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index has a theoretical range of -100 to +100 and summarizes Americans’ assessments of current U.S. economic conditions and their views of whether the economy is getting better or getting worse. On both measures, Americans are slightly more positive now than they were in October.

Currently, 15% of Americans rate economic conditions as either excellent or good, while 46% say they are poor. The remaining 40% of Americans describe the economy as being in “only fair” shape.

In October, 14% evaluated the economy as excellent or good and 49% as poor. At the trend's worst this year, in June, 54% rated the economy as poor.


When asked about the economy’s direction, 24% of U.S. adults say it is getting better and 70% say worse. In October, the figures were 20% and 74%, respectively, and in June, when gas prices hit a record high, 85% said the economy was getting worse.


The last time more Americans thought the economy was getting better than getting worse was in February 2020, before the coronavirus spread to the U.S.

Job Market Assessments Less Positive

Americans are still generally positive about the job market -- 62% say it is a good time to find a quality job, while 35% say it is a bad time. But the public is less likely to say it is a good time than they have been in recent months, with all measures between August 2021 and August 2022 near 70%, including the record-high 74% in October 2021.


The October 2021 record high came shortly after a series of highly negative evaluations of the job market in the earlier stages of the pandemic, when many industries shut down or were adversely affected.

However, Gallup found much worse job market ratings between 2009 and 2011 during the Great Recession and periods of high unemployment that came after it. In those years, only about 10% of Americans said it was a good time to find a quality job.

Bottom Line

In November, Americans recovered some of the economic confidence they lost in October but still have a ways to go to return to the more tempered negative outlook they held at the start of the year. Falling gas prices may have been a factor in lessening their pessimism over the past month, but persistently high inflation, a struggling stock market, high interest rates and fears of an impending recession may be preventing a more substantial jump in confidence.

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