U.S. economic confidence last week held steady, remaining near the previous week\'s five-year high, according to Gallup\'s Economic Confidence Index released Tuesday. The index was -6 last week, staying near the five-year weekly high of -5 from the prior week. The recent level marks the most upbeat U.S. consumers have been since Gallup began tracking U.S. economic confidence daily in 2008. The survey is separate from the broadly recognized Conference Board Consumer Confidence report, which measures how U.S. consumers feel about the state of the economy. Gallup\'s Economic Confidence Index is based on Americans\' ratings of current economic conditions in the U.S. and their assessments of whether the economy is getting better or worse. The index has not crossed into positive territory since Gallup began daily tracking of economic confidence in January 2008. Gallup\'s Economic Confidence Index has been edging closer to positive territory in recent weeks after being stuck in negative territory for more than six years. Multiple factors may have contributed to the uptick, including surging U.S. stock prices, higher housing prices, lower gas prices, and positive employment news. These positive signs were enough to help Americans\' economic confidence quickly rebound after the fiscal cliff and budget sequester debates earlier this year, Gallup found. While Americans\' confidence in the economy has been stronger so far this year than in prior years, political and economic events in the months ahead will likely test Americans\' higher levels of confidence, Gallup said. More federal agencies are announcing plans to furlough employees in response to the sequester, which could negatively affect Americans\' views of their personal finances and the overall U.S. economy. The Federal Reserve may cut back its bond-purchasing program or make other policy changes, which could cause U.S. stock prices to slip. Washington may also see a heated debate in the coming months over raising the debt limit, with Republicans expected to demand spending cuts as part of a deal to raise the debt ceiling, Gallup found. Additionally, business owners may decrease hiring and let more employees go in anticipation of health insurance requirements as part of the Affordable Care Act, which also could negatively affect Americans\' confidence in the economy, Gallup found. Gallup\'s daily tracking of U.S. economic confidence will show whether Americans\' confidence will be shaken as a result of these challenges or whether the positive momentum will continue, Gallup found.