Americans are far more optimistic about the economy than they were just two months ago, according to poll results released Thursday.
The Pew Research Center poll found that 44 percent of those surveyed expect the economy to be in better shape a year from now, compared with only 28 percent who felt that way in December.
Only 10 percent expect the economy to worsen in the year ahead, compared with 18 percent who felt that way in December.
Improving economic data, including a sharp drop in the unemployment rate, may be having an impact. The survey found that 58 percent of those surveyed were aware of the improvement in the employment situation. The jobless rate has fallen from 9 percent in September to 8.3 percent last month as the economy has added more than 700,000 jobs.
Optimism can prove fragile, Pew officials note. Only 25 percent of those surveyed believe the economy is already recovering, while 44 percent said "it will be a long time before the economy recovers." That was a modest improvement from when the questions was asked in April and 20 percent said the economy was recovering, while 54 percent said recovery was still a long way off.
The survey of 1,501 adults had a margin of error of three percentage points.