Weekly U.S. Economic Confidence Falls From Five-Year High

Weekly U.S. Economic Confidence Falls From Five-Year High

by Dennis Jacobe, Chief Economist

Economic confidence worsened at the end of the week ending Feb. 10

PRINCETON, NJ -- As President Barack Obama prepares to deliver his State of the Union address, U.S. economic confidence fell to -13 in the week ending Feb. 10, down from the five-year weekly high of -8 set just a week ago. Weekly confidence hit -10 in the week ending Nov. 4, just prior to the presidential election, and then fell after the election before returning to peak levels during the last week of January and the first week of February.

Trend: Gallup Economic Confidence Index -- Weekly Averages

These results are based on Gallup Daily tracking interviews, conducted by landline and cellphone, with roughly 3,500 Americans each week.

Gallup's three-day rolling averages show economic confidence deteriorating sharply to -16 at the end of last week. This follows the steady improvement seen through most of January and into the first week of February.

Gallup Economic Confidence Index, Three-Day Rolling Averages, January-February 2013

Americans' confidence declined in terms of both current conditions and future expectations last week. Thirty-seven percent rated current economic conditions as poor, sending the current conditions part of the index down to -19 from -13 the previous week. The economic outlook fell to -7 from -3 the prior week as the number of Americans saying the economy is getting worse increased to 51% from 49%.

Gallup Economic Confidence Sub-Indexes -- Weekly Averages, January 2011-February 2013


Last week's decline in economic confidence occurred at a time when gasoline prices sharply increased; pump prices have increased by roughly 25 cents a gallon during just the past two weeks. Further, the 2013 increase in payroll taxes -- and its potentially negative impact on confidence -- was only recently experienced by those paid monthly. It is not possible to determine the degree to which these or other factors were responsible for the decline in economic confidence last week.

Still, as the president makes his State of the Union speech, economic confidence remains near its five-year high of prior weeks. This suggests that while the U.S. economy faces many challenges, Americans are more confident in it than they have been at any other point in his presidency. In turn, this implies Americans are ready to be led if the president provides them with added reasons to be optimistic about the U.S. economy and job growth in the months ahead.

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 for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted as part of the Gallup Daily tracking survey Feb. 4-10, 2013, with a random sample of 3,555 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, selected using random-digit-dial sampling.

For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the 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 of national adults includes a minimum quota of 50% cell phone respondents and 50% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by region. Landline telephone numbers are chosen at random among listed telephone numbers. Cell phones 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 to correct for unequal selection probability, nonresponse, and double coverage of landline and cell users in the two sampling frames. They are also weighted to match the national demographics of gender, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, education, region, population density, and phone status (cellphone only/landline only/both, cellphone mostly, and having an unlisted landline number). Demographic weighting targets are based on the March 2012 Current Population Survey figures for the aged 18 and older U.S. population. Phone status targets are based on the July-December 2011 National Health Interview Survey. Population density targets are based on the 2010 census. All reported margins of sampling error include the computed design effects for weighting.

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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