Americans Are Losing Confidence in the Economy, Gallup Poll Shows

Economic confidence in the United States has faded to its lowest marks since the conclusion of the federal government shutdown, in January. In many cases, this drop is related to growing concerns over a looming recession. 

According to the most recent Gallup Economic Confidence Index, the figure in September was 17+.  While that figure might not mean anything to the average consumer, consider that the same measurement was 24+ only a month prior, in August.  To put this into perspective, though, the Gallup system’s highest figure is 100, which essentially represents 100 percent of American believing the economy is healthy.  So a figure of 17 is really not that great.  

On the other hand, the lowest possible figure is not 0:  it is -100 (which represents 100 percent of Americans believe the economy is doing poorly AND getting worse). 

The figures here tell a story of the combination of how well things are going at the time of the survey as well how respondents feel about the future of the economy.  

Gallup researchers believe that a few things are contributing to this significant drop in confidence.  For one, more and more economists are talking about greater chances for a recession; so consumers could simply be responding to an abundance of warning.  Of course, the growing trade war with China is not helping to quell these concerns.  However, recent talks of slowing employment rates are also contributing. 

Perhaps a more important metric tells a far more grim story:  48 percent of Americans believe the economy is getting worse while only 46 percent believe it is getting better.  Specifically, the Gallup poll says, “Currently, 15 percent of Americans rate economic conditions as ‘excellent,’ 35 percent ‘good,’ 36 percent ‘only fair,’ and 14 percent ‘poor.’”

In regards to this looming recession, the Gallup poll numbers also show that about half of Americans rate it is “not too likely” (at about 32 percent).  About 18 percent of Americans think a recession is “not at all likely” or “very likely”.  The majority, then, believe a recession is “likely” (at 34 percent).