Americans are increasingly optimistic about the economy, even though their confidence in it has dropped somewhat since reaching a nine-year high point earlier in March, finds a new poll.
According to Gallup's U.S. Economic Confidence Index, Americans' outlook on the economy has brightened since it scored -11 in November 2016, and has registered during the week ending March 19 at a score of +11, down from its previous score of +16 from two weeks previous.
The index measures Americans' opinions on current economic conditions as well as their outlook on whether those prospects are getting better or worse, with a theoretical maximum of +100, which would mean unanimous optimism about current and future economic conditions, and a theoretical minimum of -100, which would imply the opposite.
Americans certainly have reasons to put their faith in the economy, as many measures of it have found it to be growing. In the last six months of the year, the U.S. GDP has grown more than two percent, reaching a much higher rate than averages taken since 2009, and the stock market has been climbing as well. The unemployment rate is the lowest that it has been in years, at 4.7 percent, while the nation added more than 200,000 jobs during January and February.
Since President Donald Trump was elected in November, the Economic Confidence Index has registered positive results, making its 18-week stretch of positive scores the longest since its inception in 2008. Scores under former President Barack Obama showed gradual improvement over the last eight years but have not come close to those under Trump.
"A majority of Americans think that the economy is improving," said Raghavan Mayur, president of TechnoMetrica, after finding similarly unprecedented economic optimism in a similar index, measured for Investor's Business Daily. "They are also optimistic President Donald Trump will deliver on his promises such as tax cuts and less regulations, which are likely to boost U.S. employment and grow the economy. The stock market has also posted spectacular gains since he won the election."
Indeed, Republicans' confidence in the economy has done an about-face between Obama and Trump, according to the Gallup index. Weekly economic confidence measurements found Conservatives to rate the current and future financial prospects between the -40s and -60s, with a score of -43 in the week leading up to the election. Now, they rate it more than 100 points higher, at +46.