U.S. Economic Confidence Index Stuck at -16
Economy

U.S. Economic Confidence Index Stuck at -16

by Justin McCarthy

Index readings have not moved since mid-June

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Gallup's U.S. Economic Confidence Index remained at -16 last week, its third straight week at that level. After reaching -13 at the start of June, the index dipped to -16 mid-month, and has not moved since.

Gallup's Economic Confidence Index -- Weekly Averages for the Past 12 Months

Gallup's Economic Confidence Index is the average of two components: Americans' views on the current economic situation and their perceptions of whether the economy is getting better or worse. The potential high is 100, if all Americans were to say the economy is "excellent" or "good" and that it is getting better; the potential low is -100, if all Americans were to say the economy is "poor" and getting worse. Since January 2008, when Gallup began tracking economic confidence daily, the weekly averages have ranged from -65 in October 2008 to -3 in May and June 2013.

Currently, one in five Americans (20%) say the economy is excellent or good, while 33% say it is poor, resulting in a current conditions index of -13. As for the economy's future, 38% say the economy is getting better, while 56% say it is getting worse, for an economic outlook score of -18 -- the same as the previous week's score.

Economic Confidence Index Components -- Weekly Averages for the Past 12 Months

The recent slight dip in the overall index is attributable to losses in the outlook component since early June, while consumer attitudes about current economic conditions have held steady. This punctuates the pattern seen throughout 2014, with Americans' perceptions of the current state of the economy inching higher -- now up five points from -18 at the start of January -- while their outlook for the economy has gone in the other direction, falling 10 points from -8.

Bottom Line

Americans' overall confidence in the economy has been relatively steady all year, and that has continued over the last three weeks, with confidence consistently at -16. This stability in the overall index, however, masks the good news that Americans' perceptions of current conditions have improved, and are now approaching their highest level in five years. However, pessimism about the economy's direction is mounting, and is keeping the overall index from climbing any higher.

Even last week's promising jobs report and stock market highs couldn't lift Americans' confidence, suggesting stability may be in the forecast for the foreseeable future. Meanwhile, gas prices, which now top $4 in some states, could have prevented any potential gains in confidence.

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted June 30-July 6, 2014, on the Gallup Daily tracking survey, with a random sample of 3,025 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, the margin of sampling error is ±2 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.

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 time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone 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, and cellphone mostly). Demographic weighting targets are based on the most recent Current Population Survey figures for the aged 18 and older U.S. population. Phone status targets are based on the most recent National Health Interview Survey. Population density targets are based on the most recent U.S. 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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