U.S. Weekly Economic Confidence Steady Near Four-Year High
Economy

U.S. Weekly Economic Confidence Steady Near Four-Year High

by Dennis Jacobe, Chief Economist

Gallup Economic Confidence Index is at -19, up from -23 two weeks ago

PRINCETON, NJ -- U.S. economic confidence in the week ending April 22 is unchanged from the prior week at -19, but remains up from -23 two weeks ago, and within two points of the high of the past four years.

Trend: Gallup Economic Confidence Index -- Weekly Averages Since January 2011

This week's results are based on Gallup Daily tracking conducted April 16-22, including interviews with more than 3,000 U.S. adults.

For much of this year, Americans' economic confidence has been threatening to break out of the range seen since Gallup began Daily tracking of economic confidence in January 2008. It actually did so by one percentage point when economic confidence reached a new weekly high of -17 in the week ending March 25. After pulling back in early April, confidence in each of the past two weeks is once again within two points of that previous weekly high.

The continued high confidence seen this past week is likely due, at least in part, to gas prices stabilizing and even showing signs of decline. The hope right now seems to be that with the global economy showing signs of slowing, pump prices may have peaked for 2012.

The Gallup Economic Confidence Index includes two components: Americans' ratings of current economic conditions and their perceptions of whether the economy is getting better or getting worse. Slight increases in consumers' expectations for the future direction of the economy seem to have driven the improvement in overall index scores over the past two weeks.

Trend: Gallup Economic Confidence Sub-Indexes -- Weekly Averages Since August 2011

Last week, forty-two percent of Americans said the U.S. economy is "getting better" while 53% said it is "getting worse." Four in 10 (41%) consumers rated the current economy as "poor," while 15% rated it excellent or good. All of these ratings are close to those Gallup found when the index peaked during the week ending March 25.

Democrats' Economic Confidence Ties Two-Year High

Democrats remain more positive than independents and Republicans on Gallup's Economic Confidence Index, as they have for the past several years. However, the range between these ratings has increased in 2012, with Democrats' score of the past two weeks, +13, matching its two-year high.

Trend: Economic Confidence Index, by Political Party, Weekly Averages

Implications

Gallup's behavioral economic data show a mixed picture as the Federal Open Market Committee meets this week. Economic confidence remains near its four-year high. At the same time, Gallup's measurement of the U.S. unemployment rate shows the potential for an increase in the government's April unemployment rate.

It seems unlikely that economic confidence will build on its recent gains, given the current climate that includes doubts about the unemployment situation, the financial difficulties created by the situation in Europe, China's economy seeming to slow down, and Wall Street taking a tumble.

It also seems unlikely that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and the FOMC will make any significant policy changes this week. The economic data are too mixed to support any action at this time.

Gallup.com reports results from these indexes in daily, weekly, and monthly averages and in Gallup.com stories. Complete trend data are always available to view and export in the following charts:

Daily: Employment, Economic Confidence, Job Creation, Consumer Spending
Weekly: Employment, Economic Confidence, Job Creation, Consumer Spending

Read more about Gallup's economic measures.

View our economic release schedule.

Survey Methods

Results are based on telephone interviews conducted as part of Gallup Daily tracking April 16-22, 2012, with a random sample of 3,440 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, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±2 percentage points.

Interviews are conducted with respondents on landline telephones and cellular phones, with interviews conducted in Spanish for respondents who are primarily Spanish-speaking. Each sample includes a minimum quota of 400 cell phone respondents and 600 landline respondents per 1,000 national adults, with additional minimum quotas among landline respondents by region. Landline telephone numbers are chosen at random among listed telephone numbers. Cell phone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods. Landline respondents are chosen at random within each household on the basis of which member had the most recent birthday.

Samples are weighted by gender, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, education, region, adults in the household, and phone status (cell phone only/landline only/both, cell phone mostly, and having an unlisted landline number). Demographic weighting targets are based on the March 2011 Current Population Survey figures for the aged 18 and older non-institutionalized population living in U.S. telephone households. All reported margins of sampling error include the computed design effects for weighting and sample design.

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

For more details on Gallup's polling methodology, visit www.gallup.com.

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