The FINANCIAL -- Americans' confidence in the U.S. economy improved slightly last week. Gallup's U.S. Economic Confidence Index was +6 for the week ending Oct. 8 -- up four points from the prior week.
The index hasn't moved much over the past several months. With the exception of two higher weekly scores in August and a slightly lower score in early July, the index has remained within a +2 to +7 range since late March.
Confidence was higher in the first few months of President Donald Trump's term -- with the index peaking at +16 in early March -- but hasn't returned to that level since. Still, index readings in 2017 so far have been a lot higher than the mostly negative ones recorded from 2008 to 2016.
Gallup's U.S. Economic Confidence Index is the average of two components: how Americans rate current economic conditions and whether they feel 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 Oct. 8, 35% of Americans described the economy as "good" or "excellent," while 21% described it as "poor," resulting in a current conditions score of +14. This is consistent with the +12 to +14 range for this component since late August and is among the highest scores Gallup has recorded for it in its trend since 2008.
Americans remain slightly negative, however, about the direction in which the economy is headed -- 46% say it is getting better and 49% say it is getting worse, resulting in an economic outlook score of -3. This latest score for this component is less negative than the prior week's -9 but matches the component's average since late March.
Americans remain about as upbeat as they recently have been in their views of the U.S. economy's current state, but their cautiousness about the future dampens these relatively positive assessments.
They are, however, less negative in their economic outlook than they were the prior week. Perhaps this is related to the continued rise of the U.S. stock market. Meanwhile, despite a Bureau of Labor Statistics report detailing the loss of 33,000 jobs nationally in September, the U.S. unemployment rate still dropped to a 16-year low.