Low Confidence Adds to U.S. Economic Woes

Posted March 31, 2008 at 9:03am

Gallup polled employees asking whether their employer currently is hiring, letting workers go or not making personnel changes and concluded that net new hiring is down since February. Although today’s numbers have dropped only a little since last month – down 0.3 percentage points – expectations of seasonal job surges were not met. The same poll had a much larger 2.1-point drop from January to February. Regional breakdowns of the Gallup data indicate similar trends to other data on the current economic environment: the East has been particularly hard-hit by job loss in the wake of financial crises. This relatively new “net new hiring” poll by Gallup is conducted from interviews with no fewer than 1,000 adults nationwide each day. The economic questions analyzed in this report are asked of a random half-sample of respondents, and the results reported are based on combined data of more than 8,000 interviews in January, February, and March. For results based on the samples, the margin of error is ‘1 percentage point.

The Rasmussen Consumer Index, a consumer confidence index which was aslo covered by Poll Tracker in January shows relatively stable but consistently low consumer confidence. Scores have fallen to 74.3 in the most recent index released today. The lowest score ever recorded by Rasmussen was 73.0 earlier this month. Relatedly, Rasmussen’s Small Business Watch showed a record low for small business owner confidence, and its Investor Index shows consistent declines.

Rasmussen Consumer Index and Investor Index questions are asked in telephone surveys of 500 adults and reported on a three-day rolling average basis. The baseline for the Index was established at 100.0 in October 2001.