Poll: D.C. residents clueless about state of U.S. economy

Anne Hobson Contributor
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Among the 50 largest metropolitan areas in 2012, the Washington, D.C. metro area had the highest economic confidence index score for the second year in a row. The D.C. metro area reported an index score of 5 in 2012, up from -20 in 2011, according to Gallup.

In 2012, the San Francisco and San Jose metro areas also had positive scores of 2 and 1 respectively. The highest possible score on the index is 100, and the lowest is -100. No area had positive scores in 2011.

Economic confidence is based on combined responses to two questions.  The first asks the participant to rate economic conditions in this country today.  The second question asks whether participants think that economic conditions in the country are improving or worsening.

Statisticians conducted tracking interviews with 82,000 demographically representative respondents in the 50 most populous U.S. Metropolitan Statistical Areas.

Gallup suggests that economic confidence in the D.C. metro area may be attributed to the stability of federal government jobs. Positive scores in San Jose and San Francisco might be due to their proximity to the booming technology industry in Silicon valley.

Jacksonville, Florida and Riverside, California ranked at the very bottom with scores of -28 and -27 respectively. These areas also suffer from low job creation, which may be a contributing factor.

The average economic confidence score nationwide is -21, up from -37 in 2011, suggesting that Americans are still pessimistic about the health of the economy.

Gallup began tracing economic confidence in 2008, and since then, the economic confidence index has remained in the negative numbers. However, Gallup reports that economic confidence matched a five-year monthly high in January and February of 2013, foreshadowing improvement in the nationwide score this year.

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