U.S. Economic Confidence Continues to Improve in May

U.S. Economic Confidence Continues to Improve in May

by Alyssa Brown

Upper-income Americans' confidence enters positive territory

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Gallup's Economic Confidence Index surged to -7 in May, the highest monthly score since Gallup began tracking economic confidence daily in 2008. The current score surpasses the previous monthly high of -13 reached in several months this year.

Economic Confidence Index

These results are based on Gallup Daily tracking interviews, conducted by landline and cellphone, with more than 15,000 Americans from May 1-31. Gallup's Economic Confidence Index is based on Americans' ratings of current economic conditions in the United States as well as their assessments of whether the economy is getting better or worse. Both of these components improved in May.

Americans' net economic outlook improved to -1 in May from -10 in April, and from -11 a year ago. Americans' economic outlook score for May is the highest since Gallup Daily tracking began in January 2008. The current score is based on 47% of Americans saying the economy is getting better and 48% saying it is getting worse in May.

Americans' assessments of current economic conditions also improved last month and is the best monthly score since February 2008. The net current conditions score of -11 in May is up slightly from -17 in April and -23 in May 2012. The current score reflects 21% of Americans rating current U.S. economic conditions as excellent or good, and 32% saying they are poor.

Gallup Economic Confidence Sub-Indexes

Republicans' Confidence in the Economy Shows Steady Improvement

Republicans' increasing confidence in the economy has driven much of the improvement this year in overall U.S. economic confidence. Still, confidence among all partisan groups is higher in May 2013 than it was in May 2012.

Republicans' Economic Confidence Index score has improved each month since January. This group's current score of -33 is the highest for this group since January 2011, and is greatly improved from -59 in November 2012, when President Barack Obama won reelection.

On the other hand, Democrats' confidence in the economy has generally remained steady since December 2012, with the exception of a dip during the two months after the federal budget sequestration cuts took effect. Independents' score of -17 is on par with where it has been since the beginning of 2013.

The consistent improvement in economic confidence among Republicans this year, relative to Democrats' and independents' confidence, could reflect Republicans' slightly more positive views toward automatic budget sequestration cuts. Additionally, Republicans are more likely to be investors than are Democrats or independents, so their confidence may have shown greater improvement as U.S. stock market prices surged.

Economic Confidence Index by Political Party

Upper-Income Americans' Confidence Enters Positive Territory

Upper-income Americans' economic confidence entered positive territory in May for the first time since Gallup Daily tracking began in 2008, reaching a score of 5. This score is improved from 0 in April and -9 in May of 2012.

Middle- and lower-income Americans' economic confidence reached a five-year monthly high of -9 in May, although this is still in negative territory. This score is up from -16 in April and -18 last May.

Gallup Economic Confidence Index by Income Level

U.S. Economic Confidence Inches Closer to Positive Territory

Weekly U.S. economic confidence also reached a new five-year high of -3 last week, up from the previous high of -5 two weeks earlier. Last week's score included a three-day rolling average of -1 for May 28-30 -- the highest three-day average since Gallup Daily tracking began in 2008. The latest update, for May 31-June 2 polling, however, shows confidence slightly lower at -4.

Gallup Economic Confidence Index Weekly Averages

Bottom Line

Americans were more confident in the economy in May than they have been in any month since Gallup began tracking economic confidence daily in 2008. Republicans' confidence has shown steady improvement this year, while Democrats' and independents' economic confidence have generally remained stable. Still, monthly confidence among all partisan groups is higher than it was at this time in 2012. Additionally, upper-income Americans' views toward the economy are more positive than negative for the first time in the five years Gallup has measured it.

The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index in May also reached its highest measurement since July 2007 and the Conference Board's index hit its best level since February 2008.

Gallup's Economic Confidence Index has not entered positive territory since Gallup Daily tracking began in 2008, but has inched closer to doing so in recent days. Continued improvements in the U.S. stock market and a positive U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics jobs report for May could be enough to push economic confidence into positive territory in the coming weeks.

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 and 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 the Gallup Daily tracking survey May 1-31, 2013, with a random sample of 15,735 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, selected using random-digit-dial sampling.

For monthly results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the margin of sampling error is ±1 percentage point.

For weekly results based on the total weekly sample of interviews conducted May 27-June 2, 2013, with 3,566 national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the margin of sampling error is ±2 percentage points.

For daily results based on the total rolling three-day samples of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the margin of sampling error is ±3 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% cellphone respondents and 50% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by region. Landline telephone numbers are chosen at random among listed telephone numbers. Cellphone 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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