After posting a five-year high in January, Gallup's economic confidence index fell to a level equal to that at the end of December, when consumers were worried about the impending fiscal cliff. Once Congress dodged that bullet, economic confidence rose to a reading of -13 in January, before plunging in the last week of February to -22.
Gallup noted that confidence declined sharply near the end of the last week of the month, when it became clear that the budget cuts known as the sequester would in fact go into effect. The index at the end of last week fell to -27 as measured by the firm's three-day rolling average. For the entire month of February, the economic confidence reading came in at -13, identical with the reading for the month of January.
The sharp decline at the end of February reflects Americans' concern about the economy and their own financial condition. Gallup notes:
A majority of Americans, 56%, say the nation's economy will suffer this year if the federal budget sequestration goes into effect and 44% say sequestration will harm their own finances. This sentiment, combined with a sharp decline in Americans' economic confidence in the week ending March 3, suggests that Americans' monthly economic confidence may slip further in March.
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