A recent Gallup survey of Americans’ confidence in the economy turned positive in April for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the U.S. early last year.
The Economic Confidence Index registered a score of +2 points in April, indicating more Americans had a positive view of current economic conditions than a negative view. The results are based on a Gallup survey this month in which 28% of respondents described current economic conditions as “excellent” or “good,” while 26% described them as “poor.”
Economic confidence stood at -32 points at the onset of the pandemic in March 2020, shortly before former President Donald Trump declared a national emergency amid rising COVID-19 infections. The index had registered a score of +41 points just before the first outbreak in the United States.
Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index has improved and is now net positive for the first time since last March, before widespread societal shutdowns. https://t.co/B0E7xq0cUi
— GallupNews (@GallupNews) April 26, 2021
The economy entered a brief recession in early April 2020 as the unemployment rate spiked to 14.7% and monthly economic output plunged 11.3%. Business activity slowed as officials enacted lockdowns and other restrictions, during which economic confidence reached a record low of -33 points, according to Gallup.
Economic confidence improved in the following months, reaching -1 points immediately after November’s presidential election. But the pandemic’s deadliest period during the winter season led economic confidence to once again plunge to -21 points.
Americans’ positive outlook this month comes as the weekly rolling average of new COVID-19 cases has declined 75% since its peak in early January, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Atlanta Federal Reserve has also projected a 10% quarterly increase in gross domestic product. (RELATED: World Economy Expected To Surge More Than Previously Projected, IMF Says)
A Commerce Department report last Friday found that personal income increased 10% this month, the largest monthly increase since April 2020. The gains were largely attributed to stimulus payments that Congress included in COVID-19 relief legislation, which President Joe Biden signed into law in early March.
The unemployment rate registered at 6% in March as the economy added nearly 1 million non-farm payroll jobs last month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.