Gallup see little improvement in its confidence indexNews added by Benefits Pro on May 28, 2014

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By Lisa Barron

Americans’ confidence in the economy has remained relatively flat since the beginning of the year but is lower than it was at this time last year, according to a Gallup survey.

Gallup’s U.S. Economic Confidence Index was -15 for the week ending May 25, the ninth consecutive week it has been at or near this level.

After slumping to a range of from -18 to -20 in early March, it has fluctuated between -14 and -17 since then. That result is at odds with findings released Tuesday by the Conference Board, whose index climbed to 83 from 81.7, the second-highest level since 2008.

In any case, the Gallup index last May was -6 at the end of the month and reached -3 at the start of June 2013, which Gallup says was an all-time high since it began tracking economic confidence daily in 2008.

But its index trended downward over the summer of 2013 and plunged to -39 during the partial government shutdown in October. It improved to -13 in January.

Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index weighs both Americans’ views on the economic situation and their perception on whether the economy is getting better or worse. In this week’s average of the two components, neither one changed by more than a point from last week.

Twenty percent of respondents say the economy is “excellent” or “good,” while 34 percent say it is “poor,” leading to a score of -14 for current conditions. Forty percent of Americans say the economy is getting better, while 55 percent say it is getting worse, resulting in an economic outlook score of -15.

Gallup concluded that despite separate metrics showing a rise in job creation and a higher percentage of Americans who say now is a good time to find a quality job, overall economic confidence is not showing signs of significant upward improvement.

It speculated that Americans may be looking for bigger signs than gains in the stock market or minor monthly improvements in the job market that the economy has really recovered.

The telephone survey of a random sample of 3,549 adults living in all 50 states and the District of Columbia was conducted May 19-25.

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