As President Barack Obama prepares to deliver his State of the Union address, U.S. economic confidence fell from a five-year weekly high, research and polling firm Gallup Inc. said on Tuesday.
The Gallup Economic Confidence Index declined to a reading of -13 for the week that ended Feb. 10, down from the five-year weekly high of -8 set just a week ago.
Weekly confidence hit -10 in the week ended Nov. 4, just prior to the presidential election, and then fell after the election before returning to peak levels during the last week of January and the first week of February.
Last week's decline in economic confidence occurred at a time when gasoline prices sharply increased; pump prices have increased by roughly 25 cents a gallon during just the past two weeks, said Dennis Jacobs, a Gallup economist. Further, the 2013 increase in payroll taxes -- and its potentially negative impact on confidence -- was only recently experienced by those paid monthly.
Americans' confidence declined in terms of both current conditions and future expectations last week. Thirty-seven percent rated current economic conditions as poor, sending the current conditions part of the index down to -19 from -13 the previous week. The economic outlook fell to -7 from -3 the prior week as the number of Americans saying the economy is getting worse increased to 51 percent from 49 percent.
The results are based on Gallup daily tracking interviews, conducted by landline and cellphone, with approximately 3,500 Americans each week.