In November, Americans recovered some of the economic confidence they lost in October, according to the most recent Gallup Economic Confidence Index.
Falling gas prices may have been a factor in improving confidence over the past month, Gallup notes, “but persistently high inflation, a struggling stock market, high interest rates, and fears of an impending recession may be preventing a more substantial jump in confidence.”
Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index summarizes Americans’ assessments of current U.S. economic conditions, and whether people think the economy is improving or deteriorating. The index as measured monthly has a theoretical range of minus-100 to plus-100.
While confidence may be improving slightly, overall sentiment remains negative, Gallup notes. The index increased from minus-45 in October to minus-39 in the latest survey. The index had been as low as minus-58 in June. Americans continue to be less confident about the economy now than they were in 2021 and early 2022.
The latest survey was conducted Nov. 9 to Dec. 2 after this year’s midterm elections when gas prices declined significantly from their peak in June. While gas prices are down, food inflation is still high.
The American economy grew at a rate of 2.9% in the third quarter of this year through September.
Currently, 15% of Americans rate economic conditions as either excellent or good, while 46% say they are poor, according to Gallup. The remaining 40% of Americans describe the economy as being in “only fair” shape.
In October, 14% evaluated the economy as excellent or good and 49% as poor. At the trend’s worst this year, in June, 54% rated the economy as poor.
When asked about the economy’s direction, 24% of U.S. adults say it’s getting better and 70% say worse. In October, the figures were 20% and 74%, respectively. In June, when gas prices hit a record high, 85% said the economy was getting worse.
The last time more Americans thought the economy was getting better than worse was in February 2020, before COVID-19, Gallup noted.
Americans are still generally positive about the job market. In the Gallup survey, 62% say it’s a good time to find a quality job, while 35% say it’s a bad time. The unemployment rate is currently 3.7%, which is considered low.
But some economists are forecasting a recession in 2023 as the U.S. Federal Reserve continues to raise interest rates to bring down inflation. The latest monthly CPI (consumer price index) figures will be revealed on Tuesday.
For each survey, Gallup interviews a minimum of 1,000 U.S. adults in all 50 states and the District of Columbia aged 18 and older, using a dual-frame design, which includes landline and cellphone numbers. The margin of sampling error is 4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.
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