Here’s Why Americans Still Aren’t Confident in the Economy

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Despite the fact that spring has come and the cold weather that plagued much of the country in the early months of the year — hurting U.S manufacturing output, residential construction, consumer spending, and job creation — has passed, Americans still believe the economy is getting worse.

Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index, which averages how Americans rate current economic conditions with their expectations for the future, dropped in the week ended April 27, recording a reading of -17. That level reflects poll results that say 33 percent of Americans believe the economy is in poor shape, while just 20 percent say the economy is in excellent or good condition; 57 percent of Americans believe the economy is getting worse, compared to the 37 percent who say it is improving.


Throughout the nearly five year-long recovery of the U.S. economy, Gallup’s economic confidence measure has never reached into positive territory. The highest it has gone is a reading of -3, which was recorded in late May 2013. Since then — as rising mortgage rates stalled the housing market recovery, job creation slowed, and consumer spending struggled to gain momentum — the index has dipped down, dropping as low as -39 during October’s government shutdown.

But economic confidence has been fairly stable so far in 2014, although current levels are still depressed. Last week’s reading represents the lowest point hit by the index in the past month. “This drop is attributable to a decline in Americans’ outlook for the economy, even as their perceptions of current conditions have improved slightly, Gallup says.

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