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Gallup Poll: Economic Confidence Stays Strong as Optimism Builds

Gallup Poll: Economic Confidence Stays Strong as Optimism Builds
(Dreamstime)

By    |   Tuesday, 05 December 2017 04:00 PM

Americans' assessments of the economy remain relatively strong, according to a new Gallup poll.

Gallup said its U.S. Economic Confidence Index was at +9 for the week ending Dec. 3. This score is similar to the previous week's +11 and slightly above the average weekly level of economic confidence during the year so far (+6).

Over the past five weeks, Americans' views on the economy appear to have shifted in a slightly more positive direction.

"During this period, there have been a number of signs indicating that the economy is strong -- including the lowest unemployment rate in nearly two decades, a stock market that continues to flirt with new highs and stronger-than-expected GDP growth. Given these inputs, it is not surprising that many Americans report being optimistic about the economy, particularly current conditions," Gallup explained.

This period also overlaps with congressional Republicans' focused effort to pass legislation that changes the tax code. "The tax bill per se is not widely popular with Americans, but its relationship to a rising stock market is an indirect effect that most likely does register positively with the public," Gallup said. 

If the market continues to go up in reaction to the bill, economic confidence could rise more.

Stocks rose Monday but fell Tuesday as investors and markets digested the U.S. Senate’s approval on Saturday of the biggest tax law change since the 1980s, taking President Donald Trump closer to his goal of slashing taxes on businesses.

The overhaul would be the largest change to U.S. tax laws since the 1980s. Republicans want to add $1.4 trillion over 10 years to the $20 trillion national debt to finance changes that they say would boost an already growing economy, Reuters explained.

The bill passed on Saturday by Republican senators included a last-minute change retaining the corporate alternative minimum tax, or AMT, which had initially been removed.

That put Senate Republicans on a collision course with Republicans in the House of Representatives, whose own tax bill repealed the corporate AMT and who are already calling for the tax to be eliminated in the final legislation. Including the AMT could negate parts of the bill seen as beneficial to tech companies and other corporations, Reuters explained.

“Sentiment still remains that tax reform will get done and we will get a 20-percent tax rate, and that will boost earnings significantly,” said Lindsey Bell, an investment strategist at CFRA Research.

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.

(Newsmax wires services contributed to this report).

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Americans' assessments of the economy remain relatively strong, according to a new Gallup poll.
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2017-00-05
Tuesday, 05 December 2017 04:00 PM
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