Americans' confidence in the U.S. economy was positive in October, with the Economic Confidence Index (ECI) at plus 3 for the month after recording a plus 4 in September. Though the index's current reading is on the low end of what has been measured for 2017 so far, it remains well above the mostly negative ratings recorded from 2008 to 2016. Confidence was higher earlier in the year as President Donald Trump's inauguration renewed economic hopes among Republicans.
Weekly index ratings in October showed the varying degrees of confidence Americans had in the national economy over the course of the month. In early October, Americans' confidence dipped into negative territory, for the first and only time so far in 2017, before recovering in subsequent weeks.
The ECI is the average of two components -- how Americans rate current economic conditions and whether they feel the economy is improving or getting worse. The index has a theoretical maximum of plus 100 if all Americans were to say the economy is doing well and improving, and a theoretical minimum of -100 if all were to say the economy is doing poorly and getting worse.
Last month, 34 percent of Americans described the economy as "excellent" or "good," while 22 percent described it as "poor." This resulted in a current conditions component of plus 12 for October -- consistent with the plus 11 to plus 14 range this component has remained within since July.
Meanwhile, a majority of Americans said the economy was "getting worse" (51 percent), compared with a smaller 44 percent who said it is "getting better." As a result, the economic outlook component equaled -7 in October, one of the lower readings in the past year.