Gallup: U.S. Economic Confidence Down in June, Close to 2011 Low

Despite a positive May--one that Gallup attributes to the news of bin Laden's death--U.S. economic confidence has fallen in June, registering near its 2011 low and far from its level at this time last year. Gallup's Economic Confidence Index is developed from two indicators, one that measures Americans' views on the U.S. economy's current standing and another that looks at their assessment of the economy's direction. For the week ending June 26, the Index averaged -33, "down seven percentage points from the week ending May 29 and down a similar amount compared with the same week a year ago." The Index peaked at -18 this year and hit its low in late April, when it fell to -39.
In the week ending June 26, 45 percent of Americans rated current economic conditions "poor," a three point decline from the week ending May 29 and from a year ago. And Americans' assessment of the economy's direction has also become more pessimistic: 31 percent of Americans said the U.S. economy is getting better, down from 37 percent in May and from 36 percent during the same week last year.According to Gallup, "The worsening of Gallup's economic confidence measure during June may be due in part to the dissipation of the 'halo effect' surrounding the death of bin Laden." But there are other factors, too: even as gas prices have declined 14 cents per gallon in the past two weeks, gas is still 82 cents per gallon more expensive than at this time last year. Furthermore, "Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke last week seemed to add to the growing economic pessimism, noting that the Fed has reduced its 2011 growth forecast for the U.S. economy."

While declining gas prices may lead to more economic confidence moving forward, there is little evidence to predict such an upward trend at this time. Writes Gallup: "At this point...Gallup's monitoring of economic confidence does not support that idea."

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