The IBD/TIPP Economic Optimism Index registered a healthy 55.7 in September but slipped 2.3 points from August's 14-year high of 58. Readings above 50 reflect optimism.
Optimism backtracked among low- and modest-income Americans. Economic sentiment sagged into pessimistic territory among those earning less than $30,000 (to 48.8 from 51.4). Optimism faded to 50.3 from 58.8 among $30,000-$50,000 earners.
It's too soon to know whether this is just a blip in what had been a trend of solidifying confidence, or whether doubts may be creeping in about President Donald Trump's combative trade policies. Economic optimism shed recent gains among rural residents (59.7 from 65.4) and independents (53.8 from 57.2).
Somewhat tempered economic optimism came as the IBD/TIPP Poll found that Trump's job approval rating fell 5 points to 36%.
Economic Optimism Subindexes Decline
The Economic Optimism Index is a composite of three major subindexes. They track views of near-term economic prospects, the outlook for personal finances, and views of how well government economic policies are working.
All three subindexes lost ground in September, with a softening of the six-month economic outlook leading the downside.
The six-month economic outlook gauge fell 3.5 points to 53.3. The subindex hit a 13-year high of 57.5 in February on the heels of tax cuts.
The six-month personal financial outlook index dipped 2.5 points to 62.6 after touching a 14-year high in August. That drop came despite the S&P 500 and Nasdaq composite pushing to record highs late in August.
Meanwhile, the measure of confidence in federal economic policies slipped eight-tenths of a point to 51.3, but remained in optimistic territory, a rarity since the financial crisis.
The IBD/TIPP Poll reflects 902 responses collected from Aug. 23 to Aug. 30.
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