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What do San Jose and Washington D.C. have in Common?

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There are few surprises in Gallup’s new survey results ranking the markets with the greatest economic confidence levels. Did you guess the home towns of Silicon Valley and the federal government would lead the list?

You’re right. Among the 50 largest U.S. metropolitan areas, Washington, D.C., remained the most confident in the U.S. economy in 2012-2013, but it now shares the top spot with San Jose, Calif. Both averaged a +4 score on Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index over the past two years; they were among the three areas with net positive economic confidence on this measure. Jacksonville, Fla., had the lowest economic confidence (-25).

Washington, D.C., had a -5 score for the economic conditions component, but its +13 score for economic optimism boosted its overall index reading to positive territory, putting it ahead of the other metro areas. San Jose, too, had a negative score for the economic conditions component (-8), but was buoyed by its positive readings for optimism (+16), which brought its index to the top of the list.

Jacksonville had a dismal economic outlook score (-21), but an even more dismal score for current conditions (-28), which sank the MSA to the very bottom of the list. Pittsburgh, coming in second-lowest in overall confidence, had a -26 economic outlook score and a -23 score for current economic conditions.

Though economic confidence is still negative in most MSAs, most areas saw slight increases when factoring in the 2013 data. And fortunately for areas near the bottom such as Jacksonville and Pittsburgh, MSA confidence levels have shown some resilience. Buffalo, N.Y., for example, whose dismal confidence readings put it at the bottom in 2011, has climbed to the relatively average reading of -18 for 2012-2013.

These results are based on Gallup Daily tracking conducted throughout 2012-2013 in the 50 most populous U.S. metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs). Gallup interviewed at least 12,000 adults in each of these MSAs, with the highest number of interviews, 15,443, conducted in the New York City metro area. Each MSA sample is weighted to match the demographic characteristics of that area. Results for all 50 MSAs can be found on page 2.

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. 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.

For more information, visit www.realestateeconomywatch.com.

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