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Gallup: 58 Percent of Americans Feel Economy Getting Worse

Gallup: 58 Percent of Americans Feel Economy Getting Worse
(Dollar Photo Club)

By    |   Tuesday, 25 August 2015 09:09 PM

Gallup's Economic Confidence Index found that almost six in 10 Americans, 58%, say the economy is getting worse.

The index itself fell to negative 14 for the week ending Aug. 23, falling into a tie for the lowest weekly average so far in 2015.

Gallup's Economic Confidence Index averages two components: how Americans view the economy currently and whether they see it improving or getting worse.

Growing concerns about China, which devalued its currency and saw major losses in its stock market, led to a global stock sell-off, including in the U.S., where the Dow Jones declined by more than 500 points by market close on Friday, Gallup said.

"To the extent stock markets continue to suffer, particularly if this affects broader aspects of the economy, Americans' confidence could be shaken further in the coming week," Gallup predicted.

This is the second time in the past two months in which an international economic event appears to have modestly affected U.S. stocks as well as economic confidence. Last month, as the Greek debt deal was being finalized, U.S. economic confidence also dropped to negative-14, matching the latest week's reading as the 2015 low and the worst weekly score since September 2014, Gallup said.

Gallup's Economic Confidence Index reached positive territory for the first time since 2008 in late December 2014. It remained there until late February, when it began dropping as U.S. gas prices began to rise, Gallup said.

Ironically, another recent survey painted a different picture.

The Conference Board said Tuesday that consumer confidence climbed more than forecast in August to the second-highest level in eight years as Americans held more favorable views of the labor market.

The Conference Board’s index rose to 101.5 this month from a revised July reading of 91, the New York-based private research group said. The gauge exceeded the highest estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists, whose median forecast was 93.4. The cutoff date for the survey was Aug. 13, before the recent stock-market sell-off.

Americans remained emboldened by job gains, cheaper gasoline and rising home prices in the period leading up to a slump in stock prices as global financial markets took a turn for the worse. The risk for the economy is that households will reassess their spending plans as they wait for evidence the U.S. expansion can withstand such shocks.

“People are recognizing that labor markets have become pretty healthy,” Stephen Stanley, chief economist at Amherst Pierpont Securities LLC in Stamford, Connecticut, told Bloomberg News.

Still, “the worst of the turbulence has happened long after these surveys were filled out. If you took the survey again today, you would imagine the results would be a little softer.”

Rocky market conditions may yet weigh on consumers’ spirits. As of Monday, more than $5 trillion had been erased from the value of global equities since China unexpectedly devalued the yuan on Aug. 11, a rout that has investors questioning whether the U.S. can hold up in the face of weaker economies abroad.

Economy-watchers are speculating on whether the volatility will prompt the Federal Reserve to delay raising interest rates. In addition to its dual mandate of full employment and price stability, the central bank will likely weigh market conditions in its decision.

(Newsmax wire services contributed to this report).

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Gallup's Economic Confidence Index found that almost six in 10 Americans, 58%, say the economy is getting worse. The index itself fell to negative 14 for the week ending Aug. 23, falling into a tie for the lowest weekly average so far in 2015.
gallup, economic confidence, americans
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2015-09-25
Tuesday, 25 August 2015 09:09 PM
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