The Ocean State’s jobless rate isn’t the worst in the country, but its mood might be.
Just 7% of Rhode Islanders described economic conditions in the United States as excellent or good during the first half of 2011, according to a new Gallup poll – tied with Oregon for the second-lowest percentage in any state. About half the state’s residents – 51% – described conditions as poor.
The survey shows Rhode Islanders’ opinions haven’t budged over the past 12 months. The share of Rhode Islanders who described conditions as excellent or good was also 7% in the first half of 2010, and the share who described them as poor a year ago was 50%.
Asked about the direction of the economy during the first six months of this year, 58% of Rhode Islanders said they thought it was getting worse, while only 34% said they thought it was getting better. That was slightly better than a year ago, when 62% said the economy was worsening and 34% said it was improving.
Those responses gave Rhode Island a score of -34 in Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index for the first six months of 2011, which ranked ninth-lowest in the nation. That was essentially unchanged from the state’s score of -36 in the first half of 2010.
The only place in the nation with a positive Economic Confidence Index score for this year was Washington, D.C., with a +11, Gallup said. Massachusetts’ score of -19 was tied for fourth-highest. Connecticut posted a -30.
But all those numbers may be lower now, Gallup chief economist Dennis Jacobe warned. “Economic confidence has worsened considerably during recent weeks and, as such, views over the second half of the year may be quite different from those in the first half,” he wrote.
“Gallup Daily tracking each day asks Americans to assess the current state of the U.S. economy and to say whether the economy is getting better or worse,” the firm said in explaining its methodology. The responses to these two questions are combined into Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index, which has a theoretical range of -100 to +100. Negative scores indicate Americans are more pessimistic than optimistic about the state of the U.S. economy.”