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Gallup: Americans' Economic Confidence Remains Steady

Gallup: Americans' Economic Confidence Remains Steady
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By    |   Wednesday, 01 November 2017 09:13 AM

Americans' confidence in the U.S. economy continued to tilt slightly positive last week.

For the week ending Oct. 29, Gallup's U.S. Economic Confidence Index stood at +3, on par with the previous week's reading of +4. The measure has remained in positive territory for two weeks in a row, after briefly dipping to -1 during the week of Oct. 9-15.

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.

In general, Americans have been more positive about the economy in 2017 compared with any other year since Gallup began tracking economic confidence in 2008. Between 2008 and November 2016, the index's weekly averages were routinely negative. Only after the 2016 presidential election did the measure swing to the other side of the ledger, where it has remained for most of 2017 so far.

Other recent research supports Gallup's findings.

U.S. consumer confidence rose more than expected in October to the highest in almost 17 years as Americans grew more confident about the economy and job market, according to figures Tuesday from the New York-based Conference Board.

Highlights of Consumer Confidence:

  • Confidence index rose to 125.9 (est. 121.5), highest since Dec. 2000, from 120.6 in Sept.
  • Present conditions measure increased to 151.1, highest since 2001, from 146.9
  • Consumer expectations gauge rose to 109.1, a seven-month high, from 103

Jumps in the Conference Board’s measures of the present situation and expectations signal Americans are becoming more upbeat about the economy and employment as the labor market improves and stock prices climb to records. Improvement in household confidence helps underpin their spending, the biggest part of the economy, Bloomberg reported.

The results are consistent with other reports that showed economic activity and confidence are bouncing back, in part a sign that the hit from the recent hurricanes is dissipating. The University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index climbed in October to the strongest since the start of 2004, while the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index is near the highest level of the expansion.

The share of respondents who say jobs are plentiful rose to 36.3 percent, the most since June 2001, while people reporting good business conditions increased to 34.5 percent, matching the highest since 2001.

“Confidence remains high among consumers, and their expectations suggest the economy will continue expanding at a solid pace for the remainder of the year,” Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at the Conference Board, said in a statement.

However, another report paints a much darker portrait of Americans' confidence.

Almost two-thirds of Americans, or 63 percent, report being stressed about the future of the nation, according to the American Psychological Association’s Eleventh Stress in America survey, conducted in August and released on Wednesday.

This worry about the fate of the union tops longstanding stressors such as money (62 percent) and work (61 percent) and also cuts across political proclivities. However, a significantly larger proportion of Democrats (73 percent) reported feeling stress than independents (59 percent) and Republicans (56 percent), Bloomberg reported.

The “current social divisiveness” in America was reported by 59 percent of those surveyed as a cause of their own malaise. When the APA surveyed Americans a year ago, 52 percent said they were stressed by the presidential campaign. Since then, anxieties have only grown.

A majority of the more than 3,400 Americans polled, 59 percent, said “they consider this to to be the lowest point in our nation’s history that they can remember.” That sentiment spanned generations, including those that lived through World War II, the Vietnam War, and the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. (Some 30 percent of people polled cited terrorism as a source of concern, a number that’s likely to rise given the alleged terrorist attack in New York City on Tuesday.)

“We have a picture that says people are concerned,” said Arthur Evans, APA’s chief executive officer. “Any one data point may not not be so important, but taken together, it starts to paint a picture.”

(Newsmax wires services contributed to this report).

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Americans' confidence in the U.S. economy continued to tilt slightly positive last week.
gallup, americans, economic, confidence
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2017-13-01
Wednesday, 01 November 2017 09:13 AM
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