U.S. Economic Confidence Still Negative, at -3

U.S. Economic Confidence Still Negative, at -3

by Justin McCarthy

Story Highlights

  • Third consecutive week in negative territory
  • Scores had been positive from late December to mid-February
  • Economic outlook component dips to -4

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Gallup's U.S. Economic Confidence Index registered -3 for the week ending March 8, the third consecutive week in negative territory after an eight-week run of positive weekly scores. The index is still significantly higher than it has been at most times since 2008.

Gallup's U.S. Economic Confidence Index -- Weekly Averages Since March 2014

Gallup's Economic Confidence Index is the average of two components: Americans' ratings of current economic conditions and their views on whether the economy is getting better or getting worse. The index has a theoretical maximum of +100, if all Americans believe the economy is excellent or good and getting better; and a theoretical minimum of -100, if all Americans say the economy is poor and getting worse.

Confidence recently reverted to negative territory, after two months of positive weekly scores. Prior to that, index scores had consistently been negative since Gallup began tracking economic confidence daily in 2008. Although the index had improved after bottoming out at -65 in October 2008, it did not register a positive score until late December 2014, after months of falling gas prices.

The recent slip back into negative territory is likely related to a reversal of the trend in gas prices, after spending on fuel reached a long-term low at the end of January. The government's generally positive unemployment report for February does not seem to have moved Americans' economic confidence in a positive direction.

For the week ending March 8, 26% of Americans said the economy was "excellent" or "good," while 27% said it was "poor." This resulted in a current conditions score of -1, basically unchanged from the -2 registered during the two weeks prior.

Meanwhile, the economic outlook score was -4, the result of 46% of Americans saying the economy is "getting better" while 50% said it is "getting worse." The economic outlook score is down slightly from the -2 of the previous two weeks, and is the lowest in nearly three months.

Economic Confidence Index Components -- Weekly Averages Since March 2014

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted March 2-8, 2015, on the Gallup U.S. Daily survey, with a random sample of 3,556 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. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.

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.

Learn more about how Gallup Daily tracking works.

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