In another bit of good economic news for the White House, a pair of private sector groups that track consumer confidence reported significant positive movement this past week. The Conference Board and Gallup both reported the highest levels of confidence among consumers since the financial crisis ushered in the Great Recession.
Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index spiked to its highest level ever last week, for five weeks in a row in positive territory. Gallup began tracking the economic confidence of Americans on a daily basis in 2008, and until recently, the poll had never been in positive territory. During the financial crisis and the beginning of the recession, the index plumbed lows of negative 65.
Tuesday’s release highlights a sharp upward trend in attitudes toward the economy. In the third quarter of 2014, for example, the index was near negative 20.
“Americans continue to feel better about the economy – as good as they have at any time since the recession began,” wrote Gallup’s Rebecca Riffkin. “After a brief dip the prior week, confidence recovered this past week, perhaps helped by President Barack Obama's State of the Union address in which he was able to make clear to a national audience that the economy is getting better.”
She added, “The president's positive spin on the economy is certainly defensible as most economic measures have been trending in a positive direction over the past year, including official government reports of economic growth and unemployment, but also measures that Gallup tracks, including on employment, company hiring and consumer spending.
The Conference Board on Tuesday said its Confidence Index had jumped from 93.1 in December 2014 to 102.9 this month. Consumers’ judgment of the economic climate and expectations for the future also improved.
“Consumer confidence rose sharply in January, and is now at its highest level since August 2007,” said Lynn Franco, director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. “A more positive assessment of current business and labor market conditions contributed to the improvement in consumers’ view of the present situation.”
The dual announcements came just a day after another Gallup poll showed that President Obama’s approval rating had again risen to the 50 percent level, the highest since 2013, after bottoming out at 38 percent in September.
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