Economic Confidence Hits Lowest Level Since Government Shutdown

September 20, 2019 by Douglas A. McIntyre

The economic confidence of Americans has hit the lowest level since the federal government shutdown ended in January. Some of the drop has to do with worries about a recession.

According to Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index, the figure for September was +17. In August the figure was +24. The Gallup system’s highest potential figure is 100, which means all Americans believe the economy is excellent or good, as well as getting better. A score of −100 would mean all Americans think the economy is poor and getting worse. The score is a combination of how the economy is when the survey is taken and what respondents believe will happen to the economy in the future.

Among the reasons for the confidence decline, Gallup researchers believe, is the fact that more economists have talked about the chance of a recession recently. The trade war with China has increased concerns as well. Recent announcements about jobless rates are not as robust as they were a few months ago.

Another downward shift in the figures is that 48% of Americans believed the economy was getting worse in September, while only 46% believed it is getting better. Since the government shutdown, the majority of people surveyed were positive about the future of the economy.

Offering four possible answers about America’s economic future, Gallup showed this, “Currently, 15% of Americans rate economic conditions as ‘excellent,’ 35% ‘good,’ 36% ‘only fair’ and 14% ‘poor.'” That is below most months this year.

On the issue of a recession, Gallup’s numbers showed, “Half of Americans say it is ‘not too’ (32%) or ‘not at all’ likely (18%) and a roughly equal share say it is ‘very’ (15%) or ‘fairly’ (34%) likely.”  There is a theory that Americans can talk themselves into a recession. It is based on the notion that worried people and companies cut back on spending and those cuts drive down the economy.

Gallup’s conclusion is that many Americans are optimistic about the American economy, but there are clouds on the horizon. However, some states may already be in a recession.


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