Since it began tracking US economic confidence in 2008, Gallup has never gotten a net positive result. A reading above zero indicates that Americans are gaining confidence in the country’s economic conditions, while a reading below zero indicates a lack of confidence. The best reading in the past four years is -18, which the index posted for the second time in the week ending March 11th.
Last week, the reading dropped to -21, indicating most likely that the good news about employment in the previous week couldn’t overcome the bad news about rising prices for gasoline. However, Gallup notes:
… Americans on average say they would not significantly change their lifestyles until gas prices reach the tipping point of $5.30, suggesting that the true impact of current gas prices on economic confidence is difficult to assess with certainty.
A year ago, the economic confidence index posted a reading of -31, so even this week’s downturn is substantially better. Gallup expects the index to continue to be volatile in the coming weeks.