Statistics have shown strength in the economy for the last six months, and that may finally be having an impact on the average American's outlook.
Gallup's economic confidence index climbed to negative 6 for the week ended Nov. 16, its highest level since June 2013 and up from negative 8 a week earlier.
To be sure, a negative number itself indicates Americans are more likely to view the economy negatively than positively. The poll finds 50 percent say the economy is getting worse, and 46 percent it is improving.
Only 24 percent of Americans see the economy as "excellent" or "good," compared with 31 percent who see it as poor.
"The improvements in Americans' ratings of the economy in recent weeks suggest that Gallup's economic confidence index could soon escape negative territory for the first time since the recession [December 2007-June 2009]," writes Gallup's Justin McCarthy.
"This higher confidence could translate into a promising upward trend for retailers as the holiday season approaches."
Meanwhile, Michael Bernick, an adjunct fellow at the Milken Institute, sees Americans' economic dissatisfaction persisting, and two oft-ignored reasons help explain why, he writes on Fox & Hounds, a California political/business issues site.
"The first is the rise of the benefits society, with benefit programs replacing employment," Bernick says.
Number two is "the sharpening of the meritocracy," he writes.
"Not only is meritocracy morally suspect—how are each of us responsible for our heredity and early environment—but also the closer we get to a meritocracy, the greater will be the economic dissatisfaction of the great majority who do not reach the highest levels (and even some who do)."
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