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Consumer confidence highest in months, Gallup says

January 24, 2012|By Matt Stevens
  • Porsche Clary walks in Westfield Culver City's parking lot in January. U.S. consumers' confidence in the economy is at its highest level since May 2011, according to a Gallup poll.
Porsche Clary walks in Westfield Culver City's parking lot in January.… (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los…)

Notice a certain confidence in your walk these days?

U.S. consumers' confidence in the economy is at its highest level since May 2011, according to Gallup.

But that's not a huge surprise. The weekly rating by the polling company has trended upward since this summer, and it has happened before.

“Americans’ views of current economic conditions are about the same as what they were at the comparable time in the prior two years,” Gallup said in a statement. The company said that in 2010 and 2011, confidence in the economy waned as the year progressed.

But there is a chance it will stick this time. Gallup chief economist Dennis Jacobe said that good news about unemployment and jobless claims, along with the general perception that the economy is getting better, is helping drive increased consumer confidence.  

Gallup editor in chief Frank Newport said the data has political implications for President Obama, who is set to deliver his State of the Union Address Tuesday night.

“Obama cannot go forth in his speech tonight and say we’ve turned the corner. There’s still a majority of Americans who say the economy is getting worse," Newport said. "But he can at least say it's getting better than it was six months ago.  

“The real key is what happens going forward. His probability of being elected is very much tied up in these numbers.”  

The Gallup Economic Confidence Index develops a weekly consumer confidence score by averaging Americans' ratings of current and future economic conditions.

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