The Five Cities Most Confident About U.S. Economy

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American’s views of the U.S. economy cannot be measured as uniform. Income and job prospects vary from region to region and from income group to income group. Younger people continue to have more trouble finding jobs than the middle aged. And employment and income opportunities vary by race and sex. Some of the widest gaps in economic confidence can be measured by city, and the differences are pronounced.

According to a new Gallup poll, people in Washington, D.C., and San Jose, Calif., are the most confident in the U.S. economy. At the other end of the scale is Jacksonville, Fla. The research covered opinions in the largest 50 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) during 2012 and 2013. Gallup researchers report:

Though economic confidence is still negative in most MSAs, most areas saw slight increases when factoring in the 2013 data.

Perhaps some of this improvement has to do improvement in unemployment in almost every city of significant size. In addition, real estate prices also have risen in most regions.

Among the other cities with the highest confidence in the U.S. economy, after Washington and San Jose, are San Francisco, Minneapolis and Seattle. Other than San Jose and San Francisco, none of these cities group together geographically.

Among the cities with the lowest economic confidence are some where older manufacturing industries employed a large portion of the population. After Jacksonville, they are Pittsburgh, Oklahoma City, Cincinnati, St. Louis and Providence.

As for how the measurement was taken:

Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index is a composite of Americans’ ratings of current U.S. economic confidence conditions and their perceptions of the economy’s direction. The index has a theoretical maximum of +100 (if all respondents rate the economy as “excellent” or “good” and say it is getting better), and a theoretical minimum of -100 (if all rate the economy as “poor” and say it is getting worse). Nationwide, the Gallup Economic Confidence Index averaged -16 in 2013.

Based on the wide divergence of confidence from city to city, it could be argued that the recession still has a hold on some parts of the country.