Gallup: Economic Confidence Returns to 2009 Levels
(CNSNews.com) – Americans’ confidence in the economy has hit a low for the year, according to a Gallup survey, returning to levels last seen in 2009 and continuing a downward trend in economic confidence that began in mid-February.
Gallup’s weekly tracking of economic confidence reflects whether Americans think the economy is getting better or worse and their assessment of current economic conditions.
“Gallup's Economic Confidence Index dropped to -39 in the week ending April 24 -- a new weekly low for 2011,” Gallup reported Tuesday. “This continues a downward trend that began in mid-February. The current deterioration of confidence contrasts sharply with the improving trend found at this time a year ago.”
The last time the index was consistently this low was in the spring of 2009, when the economy was still mired in recession.
A large portion of Americans – 47 percent – told Gallup that the current economy was “poor,” slightly higher than a year ago.
“Nearly half of Americans rated current economic conditions ‘poor’ during the week ending April 24 -- the highest level of negativity on this measure so far this year,” reported Gallup.
Consequently, only 27 percent of Americans thought the economy was “getting better,” according to Gallup, down from 41 percent who had an optimistic outlook at this time a year ago.
“Slightly more than one in four Americans said the economy is ‘getting better’ last week,” said Gallup. “This measure has been declining since mid-February, and is now at its 2011 low. Far fewer Americans currently feel the economy is improving than held that expectation a year ago, when 41% said things were getting better.”
Gallup noted that the increasing economic malaise was most likely caused by the poorer economic conditions, relative to a year ago.
“This year, economic confidence is going in the opposite direction,” said Gallup. “There is an increasing danger of stagflation as prices surge and the economy slows. As a result, retailers and the economy could find it difficult to match last May's sales performance in 2011.”
Gallup also said that the beginning of the 2012 presidential campaign may be injecting uncertainty into Americans’ views on the economy, with debates shaping up over federal debts and the federal budget.
“The beginning of the 2012 presidential campaign may also be creating added uncertainty and depressing economic confidence,” reported Gallup. “Generally, the political confrontations taking shape over federal budget cuts, increased taxes, and raising the federal debt limit may be a source of concern for Americans.”