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Follow the optimism index each week to guage the outlook for economic growth, jobs, real estate, and the stock market.

The Meter climbed to 46 on Feb. 16, up from a seven-month low of 31 one week earlier, as the share of positive attitudes regarding the U.S. stock market, real estate, and employment all increased by more than 10%. Developed by Bloomberg BusinessWeek using data from pollster YouGov, the Meter is a proprietary measure of sentiment and expectations, economic statistics, and market forecasts. It evaluates shifts in outlook among individuals, professional investors, and economists in the areas of U.S. economic growth, jobs, equity markets, and real estate. The Meter climbed to 46 on Feb. 16, up from a seven-month low of 31 one week earlier, as the share of positive attitudes regarding the U.S. stock market, real estate, and employment all increased by more than 10%. Each of the charts that follow measures one of the four different components of the Optimism Meter: economic growth, jobs, equity markets, and real estate. Like the Optimism Meter, the components appear on a scale of 0 to 100, with 100 representing the highest level of optimism. ECONOMIC GROWTH: GROWTH UPGRADES HIGHLIGHT: Bloomberg’s survey of 57 economists estimates that U.S. gross domestic product will expand by 3% a year in both 2010 and 2011, up from estimates of 2.7% and 2.9%, respectively, one week earlier. Sixty-two percent of respondents don’t think the economy will get worse. JOBS: OUTLOOK CONTINUES TO IMPROVE HIGHLIGHT: Forty-one percent of individuals say that if they lost their job, it would be very hard to find a new one that paid as much. That’s down from 45% one week earlier. Economists predict that unemployment will average 9.1% in 2011, down from an average 9.8% in 2010. EQUITY MARKETS: MORE BULLISH HIGHLIGHT: The volatility of the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index declined over the past week. Just 17% of individuals actually expect the stock market to fall over the next 12 months. REAL ESTATE: STILL IMPROVING HIGHLIGHT: Sixty-four percent of YouGov survey respondents said that they believed their homes wouldn’t lose value over the next year. Twenty-three percent think real estate has yet to hit a bottom.

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