- The economic confidence index improved from -45 to -39
- The public is less negative about the current situation and direction of the economy
- Optimism about the labor market fell to its lowest level since April 2021
WASHINGTON, DC — Americans’ assessments of the U.S. economy improved slightly in November and early December, but remain decidedly negative. Gallup’s economic confidence index rose from -45 in October to -39 in the latest survey. The index was even -58 in June this year. Americans are still less confident about the economy now than they were in 2021 and early 2022.
From a broader historical perspective, recent ratings of Americans’ economic confidence were among the worst Gallup has measured since the 2007-2009 recession, which included a record low of -72 in October 2008 during the financial crisis, which worsened an already poor economic situation.
The latest estimate is based on the period Nov. 9-Dec. 2, implemented after this year’s midterm elections. The survey was conducted as gas prices fell sharply from their peak in June. However, gas and most commodity prices remain high after a year of persistent inflation. Most Americans continue to report experiencing financial hardship due to rising prices.
Assessments of the current situation, economic orientation improved
The Gallup Economic Confidence Index has a theoretical range of -100 to +100 and summarizes Americans’ assessments of the current economic situation in the United States and their views on whether the economy is improving or worsening. On both measures, Americans are slightly more positive now than in October.
Currently, 15% of Americans rate the economic situation as excellent or good, while 46% say it is bad. The remaining 40% of Americans describe the economy as “just fair.”
In October, 14% rated the economy as excellent or good, and 49% as bad. At its worst trend this year, in June, 54% rated the economy as bad.
When asked about the direction of the economy, 24% of American adults said it was getting better, while 70% said it was getting worse. In October, the numbers were 20% and 74%, respectively, and in June, when gas prices hit a record high, 85% said the economy was getting worse.
The last time more Americans thought the economy was doing better than worse was in February 2020, before the coronavirus spread across the US
Assessments of the labor market are less positive
Americans remain generally positive about the job market, with 62% saying it’s a good time to find a quality job, and 35% saying it’s a bad time. However, the public is less likely to say the time is right than in recent months, with all measures between August 2021 and August 2022 nearing 70%, including a record high of 74% in October 2021.
The record high in October 2021 was reached shortly after a series of very negative labor market assessments in the early stages of the pandemic, when many industries closed or were affected.
Gallup, however, found significantly worse labor market ratings between 2009 and 2011 during the Great Recession and periods of high unemployment that followed. In those years, only about 10% of Americans said it was a good time to find a quality job.
The bottom line
In November, Americans regained some of the economic confidence they lost in October, but they still have a long way to go to return to the more subdued negative outlook they had at the start of the year. Falling gas prices may have helped ease their pessimism over the past month, but persistently high inflation, stock market woes, high interest rates and fears of a looming recession may be preventing a bigger jump in confidence.
To stay up to date with the latest Gallup News insights and updates, follow us on Twitter.
Learn more about how the Gallup Poll Social Series works.
View full answers to questions and trends (PDF download).