April economic confidence weakened slightly but remains positive about the current state of the U.S. economy. The economic confidence index averaged plus 5, down four points from March's average. Despite the dip, confidence has been in positive territory for six consecutive months -- the longest such streak in the past nine years.
In April, 32 percent of Americans rated economic conditions in the country as "excellent" or "good," while 21 percent rated conditions as "poor." This left the current conditions component of the index at plus 11 for the month, down slightly from March's plus 13. Meanwhile, 46 percent said the economy was "getting better" in April, while 47 percent said it was "getting worse." Because of this, the economic outlook component fell to minus 1 from plus 4 in March.
Nonetheless, improved economic confidence has yet to translate into notable gains in "hard" measures of actual economic output, such as gross domestic product or consumer spending. Indeed, "soft" data -- measuring general economic perceptions such as Gallup's economic confidence index -- and "hard" data are telling two very different stories of the U.S. economy. The soft data seem to suggest strong economic growth is just around the corner, while the hard data -- as evidenced by Friday's GDP report -- currently depict an economy that is slowly growing.