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According to the latest Gallup Poll.

U.S. economic confidence improved sharply to -18 in the week ending March 11 from -25 the prior week — the highest since the week ending Feb. 13, 2011, when it was also -18. The -18 readings this year and last are the highest weekly levels Gallup has recorded since it started tracking confidence daily in January 2008.

Americans’ economic confidence had declined recently from -20 in the week ending Feb. 12 to -25 for the week ending March 4. This brief deterioration in confidence may have been, at least in part, a response to increasing gas prices at the pump. However, the government’s positive unemployment report out last Friday appears to have given economic confidence another boost, as seemed to be the case following January’s unemployment report.

Gallup Daily tracking reveals that Americans’ confidence in the economy increased Friday, Saturday, and Sunday after the government report came out.

Read the entire report over at Gallup.

I am feeling better economic conditions in California although unemployment is unreasonably high and the state of California has massive budget deficits. I would say economic conditions are fluid and with rising fuel prices, there are unknowns on the horizon.

If I were President Obama, I would be leery of improving conditions to help in his re-election effort. And, if I were a GOP challenger, I would not be confident that a deteriorating economy would propel you into office.

It is important to note that Americans’ confidence in the economy was similar last year around this time. However, Americans’ hope for improvement in the overall economy during the months that followed the momentary surge in confidence early last year did not materialize. In fact, by last summer, the economy appeared to be near another downturn as politicians in the nation’s capital did battle over raising the federal debt ceiling.

It appears economic confidence is at another possible turning point, with gas prices on a pace to reach record highs in the summer. Further, it is not clear if the government can continue to report more good jobs news given modest economic growth.

For now though, it appears that higher gas prices have not been enough to keep Americans’ economic confidence from matching its highest weekly level in four years. However, if job increases slow, gas prices may quickly be perceived as an even more important threat, not only to Americans’ economic confidence, but also to the overall economy in the months ahead.

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According to the latest Gallup Poll.

Job market conditions in the United States slid back slightly in February, as Gallup’s Job Creation Index fell to +14 from +16 in January. The February score matches those recorded from October through December 2011. However, the reading last month reflects an improvement of two percentage points compared with a year ago (+12 in February 2011).



Hiring Down, Firing Up

The February Job Creation Index of +14 is based on 32% of workers nationwide saying their employers are hiring workers and expanding the size of their workforce, and 18% saying their employers are letting workers go and reducing the size of their workforce. The percentage hiring is down from 33% in January, while the percentage letting go is up from 17%. Both February percentages now match the readings recorded each month in the fourth quarter of 2011.


The chart:

What does all mean?

The American economy is NOT dramatically improving on the jobs front. With gasoline prices haven risen and rising and job creation prospects flat around the country in almost all regions – see map at the top), the Obama Administration will have a hard time making a case for success of their economic policies.

Declining consumer confidence is also generally unfavorable for the economy.

Gallup’s March numbers are looking a little better, but stay tuned since it is early in the month.

There will be no carping from the White House on these numbers, in advance of the government’s release of their numbers on Friday.

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According to the latest Gallup Poll.

The U.S. unemployment rate, as measured by Gallup without seasonal adjustment, is 9.0% in mid-February, up from 8.6% for January. The mid-month reading normally reflects what the U.S. government reports for the entire month, and is up from 8.3% in mid-January.

Gallup’s mid-month unemployment reading, based on the 30 days ending Feb. 15, serves as a preliminary estimate of the U.S. government report, and suggests the Bureau of Labor Statistics will likely report on the first Friday of March that its seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased in February. Gallup found that unemployment decreased to 8.3% in its mid-January report, and suggested that the U.S. unemployment rate the BLS reported for January would decline.

Gallup also finds 10.0% of U.S. employees in mid-February are working part time but want full-time work, essentially the same as in January. The mid-February reading means the percentage of Americans who can only find part-time work remains close to its high since Gallup began measuring employment status in January 2010.

Although the past few weeks, the pundits have been spinning that the economy has been improving. America is not out of the woods just yet as far as unemployment.

And, underemployment has increased.
Remember underemployment is a measure that combines the percentage of workers who are unemployed with the percentage working part time but wanting full-time work.

Now, let’s see what the United States government reports in early March.

But, the trend is upward in the unemployment rate.

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