By Paul Tooher
Residents of Chicagoland are feeling more confident about the U.S. economy these days, according to a newly-released survey by Gallup.
Gallup's Economic Confidence Index is a composite of Americans' ratings of current U.S. economic confidence conditions and their perceptions of the economy's direction.
Of the 50 metro areas surveyed, the Windy City had the 16th highest level of economic confidence, with a rating of minus 12. Still, that’s up from 35th place in the 2011 survey, with a confidence rating of minus 35.
The index has a theoretical maximum of +100, if all respondents rate the economy as "excellent" or "good" and say it is getting better, and a theoretical minimum of -100, if all rate the economy as "poor" and say it is getting worse. Nationwide, the Gallup Economic Confidence Index averaged -16 in 2013.
The results are based on Gallup daily tracking conducted throughout 2012-2013 in the 50 most populous U.S. metropolitan statistical areas.
Only Washington, D.C., and San Jose, Calif., tied at plus four, and San Francisco, rated at plus three, had positive ratings. Minneapolis has the next most positive rating at minus 2, followed by Seattle at minus 4.
Other metros areas with the highest levels of economic confidence in 2012-2013 include Miami, Austin, Texas, Denver, Boston and Houston.
Though economic confidence is still negative in most metro areas, Gallup found that most areas saw slight increases when factoring in the 2013 data.
In the Chicago area, 16 percent of respondents rated current economic conditions as good to excellent while 37 percent rated them poor. Looking forward, 46 percent said they expected the economy to improve while 49 percent expected economic conditions to worsen.
Jacksonville, Fla., had the lowest level of economic confidence, at minus 25, behind Pittsburgh, at minus 24, Oklahoma City and Cincinnati, tied at minus 23, St. Louis and Providence, R.I., tied at minus 21, Louisville, Ky., and Virginia Beach, Va., tied at minus 20, and Tampa, Fla., Birmingham, Ala., and Memphis, all tied at minus 19.