After an upturn in mid-March, Americans' confidence in the U.S. economy fell back slightly last week, posting a reading of -17 compared with prior week reading of -13, according to the latest data from Gallup. The index posted a two-year high reading of -8 in early February, before a sharp increase in gasoline prices sent the index to a year-to-date low of -22 in early March.
Gallup attributes the decline to signs of a pullback in equity prices, news of negative report on nonfarm payrolls and the fact that President Obama's budget proposal managed to offend just about everybody. The average confidence index reading for 2012 was -21, so even given the recent dip, Americans indicate that they believe that the economy is improving - if only slightly.
When assessing current economic conditions, Americans' confidence fell from -17 a week ago to -20. Looking further ahead, Americans' confidence in the outlook for the U.S. economy also fell, from -9 in the prior week to -13.
The impact of the dramatic fall of gold prices and the bombing at the Boston Marathon could lead to an even sharper decline for the current week. The fact remains that U.S. economic growth is weak and fragile, and people have noticed.
Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Economy, Research