Poll: US economic confidence down|
Tue Apr 10, 2012 6:4PM GMT
U.S. economic confidence declined to -23 in the week ending April 8, down from -20 the prior week, and from -17 the week ending March 25.Confidence is now approaching the relatively low levels seen in January and February, 2012.
The Gallup Economic Confidence Index includes two components: Americans' ratings of current economic conditions and their perceptions of whether the economy is getting better or getting worse. Declines of the past two weeks have been driven mostly by deterioration in consumers' perceptions of the economy's future direction.
The percentage of Americans saying the economy is getting better decreased to 39% from 44% two weeks before, while the percentage saying it is getting worse increased to 56% from 52%.
Over the past couple of weeks, Americans' perceptions of the U.S. economy seem to have changed. Not only did confidence fail to build on its recent weekly record high from two weeks ago, but it worsened again last week despite the Easter holiday and the higher spending preceding it.
In part, confidence could be declining because the average consumer may be giving greater importance to increasing gas prices. Another factor may be the doubts various economic observers, including Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, are raising about the sustainability of the recent improvements in the unemployment situation barring stronger economic growth.
A third factor in the recent decline in economic confidence might involve Friday's March unemployment report -- although only two days of Gallup polling for the most recent week took place after the report.
The government reported a decline to 8.2% in the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate -- essentially matching the 8.1% reported by Gallup Daily tracking of unemployment. However, the creation in March of only 120,000 new U.S. jobs when 200,000 or more were expected put a negative interpretation on the unemployment report. Most importantly, this report seemed to confirm the fears of those worried about the sustainability of job growth. Gallup