Americans’ Confidence in Economy at Post-Election Low

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The FINANCIAL — Americans’ confidence in the economy has slipped over the past two months but remains higher than it was before the 2016 presidential election. Gallup’s U.S. Economic Confidence Index averaged +2 for the week ending May 14 — its lowest score recorded this year.

This score is essentially unchanged from the +3 recorded the week before, but it is down considerably from the index’s high point of +16 in early March as the stock market hit record highs.

While Gallup’s U.S. Economic Confidence Index has slumped since March, it has remained in positive territory — something it rarely did from January 2008, when Gallup began tracking it daily, until early November 2016. In the last full week before the election, the index stood at -11. The week of the election, it rose 11 points to register a score of 0, and one week later, it rose again to +4. The most recent weekly average of +2 is the lowest score since the election occurred.

Gallup’s U.S. Economic Confidence Index is the average of two components: how Americans rate current economic conditions and whether they believe the economy is improving or getting worse. The index has a theoretical maximum of +100 if all Americans were to say the economy is doing well and improving, and a theoretical minimum of -100 if all were to say the economy is doing poorly and getting worse.

For the week ending May 14, 31% of Americans assessed the economy as “excellent” or “good,” while 23% said the economy was “poor.” Overall, the current conditions component averaged +8 for the week, similar to +10 one week earlier but nine points below the record-high +17 set in mid-March.

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But while Americans are generally optimistic about the current state of the economy, they continue to be pessimistic about the economy’s future. Last week, 45% of U.S. adults said the economy was “getting better,” while 49% said it was “getting worse,” resulting in an economic outlook component of -4. Though unchanged from the week before, the outlook component has lost considerable ground since it peaked in early March at +15.


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