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Economic confidence in U.S. improved

Christian Fernsby |
Americans' pessimism about U.S. economic conditions has eased slightly, although Gallup's Economic Confidence Index remains in negative territory.

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Topics: U.S.   

An eight-point increase to -13 this month puts the index at its best reading since November.

Gallup regularly tracks Americans' ratings of national economic conditions as excellent, good, only fair or poor and whether the economy is getting better or getting worse. The combined responses are used to create the Gallup Economic Confidence Index, which has a theoretical range of +100 (if all respondents say the economy is excellent or good and that it is getting better) to -100 (if all say it is poor and getting worse).

The latest rating, from a Feb. 3-18 poll, comes after back-to-back declines in December and January that followed seven months of steady or slightly improved readings. Before that, the ECI fell sharply from +41 in February 2020 to +22 in the first half of March and then -33 in the latter half of April as the coronavirus pandemic caused an economic crisis in the U.S.

Since dropping below zero in early April, the confidence rating has not risen above -1. Still, the most recent rating is 20 points higher than it was at its lowest point in the spring and is well above the record-low -72 recorded in October 2008, during the Great Recession.

The public remains more negative than positive on both components of the confidence index. Currently, 20% of Americans rate economic conditions in the U.S. as "excellent" or "good," while 31% say they are "poor"; and 39% say they are "getting better" while 54% say they are "getting worse."

The improvement from last month has come on the outlook dimension. In January, 29% believed the economy was getting better and 66% worse. The increase more than offset a decline in ratings of current economic conditions from January's 28% excellent or good and 33% poor.

Democrats' economic confidence rating is +9, Republicans' is -37 and independents' is -14. This marks a 49-point increase in Democrats' confidence since Biden's inauguration. At the same time, Republicans' rating has fallen 35 points and independents' has ticked up five points.

Although the U.S. unemployment rate remained above 6% in January, and work continues on another COVID-19 relief package, Gallup's Economic Confidence Index ticked up eight points in February. This change is largely owed to Democrats' increased confidence as their party regained the White House. At the same time, Republicans' confidence decreased nearly as much as Democrats' increased.


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