African-Americans, Democrats boost economic confidence

Betsi Fores | The Daily Caller News Foundation

The latest survey on economic confidence by Gallup shows Americans the most confident about the economy since January of 2008, when they began tracking daily confidence.

Democrats and blacks were the most confident in the economy with an index of 30 in November, followed by Hispanics, postgraduates and millennials (18- to 29-year-olds), whose index was between three and six. The average index score was -11 for November.

“All of these groups are Democratic-leaning politically, and among President Obama’s most consistent supporters, making their higher confidence not entirely surprising,” Gallup notes.

Conservatives, conversely, were the most pessimistic about the economy. Republicans reported as the least confident in the economy, with a score of -59. Whites, 65 years and older, and married people, who generally lean more conservative, scored their confidence between -23 and -20.

Economic confidence from both the Black and Hispanic communities may seem surprising when you consider unemployment among these demographics has been consistently above the average throughout the recession and into the recovery.

In the latest unemployment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, African Americans had an unemployment rate of 14.3 percent, while the national unemployment rate was at 7.9 percent. Hispanics were unemployed at a rate of 10 percent.

Both blacks and Hispanics overwhelmingly voted for President Obama in last month.

This trend indicates that many base their economic outlook on the political state of play. The best weekly confidence index was during the election week of November 6.

“If economic confidence is less colored by politics than was the case this year, economic events may prove more important in determining the future course of U.S. economic confidence,” Gallup writes.

A study released by Pew last year found that “Blacks and Hispanics in the U.S. were the biggest losers in wealth during the recession.”

“The median wealth of white households is 20 times that of black households and 18 times that of Hispanic households,” the study finds.

The bursting of the housing bubble and continued decline of the housing market had a much harder hit on minorities, most of whom bought their homes at the height of the market, than whites. “[I]nflation-adjusted median wealth fell by 66% among Hispanic households and 53% among black households [between 2006-2009], compared with just 16% among white households.”

“As a result, the typical black household had just $5,677 and the typical Hispanic household had $6,325 in wealth, while the typical white household had $113,149.”

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