Americans Were More Negative About Economy in 2011

Overall, regardless of how much the unemployment rate drops, Americans are very pessimistic about the national economy. On Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index, all states and the District of Columbia rated that they were more negative than positive about the economy in 2011.

Americans were even more pessimistic about the nation’s economy, ranking a -37, than they were the previous year, when they ranked at -28. Two-thirds reported that the economy is getting worse and almost half (47%) say that economic conditions are poor right now. Only 11% say the current conditions are excellent/good.

Even the District of Columbia, which rated a positive economic confidence at 2, was negative in 2011 at -4. Half of respondents report that the economy is getting better, but only 19.4% say that economic conditions right now are excellent/good. Still, D.C. was far more confident in the economy than all of the states.

The other states that rounded out the top 10 for best economic confidence were North Dakota (-26), Minnesota (-27), Nebraska (-27), Maryland (-28), Hawaii (-30), South Dakota (-30), Iowa (-30), Massachusetts (-31) and Utah (-31).

Gallup reported that there was no pattern linking the states with the most confidence.

“For example, the top 10 states vary by region and political leanings, including the most (Hawaii, along with D.C.) and least (Utah) Democratic states.”

The most confident state, North Dakota, has reason to be so. The state’s economy has been booming because of the use of hydraulic fracturing (aka, fracking). The economy is doing so well there, and unemployment is so low (3.3% in Dec. 2012), that there actually isn’t enough housing for all the people.

However, N.D. is experiencing some bad effect success from its economic success: Costs are soaring, schools are overcrowded and crime is on the rise.

Utah and Nebraska replaced Delaware and Texas in the top 10 in 2011. Delaware had the largest change from year to year, dropping from the top 10 to the bottom 10 with a confidence change of -22.

West Virginia had the worst economic confidence with -49 and 73.9% saying the economy is getting worse. And yet, Nevada residents have the worst current view with 57.6% saying economic conditions are poor, and Rhode Island has the least amount of people who say economic conditions are excellent/good with only 5.4%.

Despite the pessimism running rampant in 2011, Gallup reported that confidence had picked up in January of 2012.