May 4 (UPI) -- Although most Americans believe the economy is worsening, nearly half are optimistic it will begin to recover within six months, according to a new survey Monday.
In a poll conducted over the past two weeks, Gallup said fewer Americans (71 percent) now have a negative view of the economy, a decline of 3 points from early April.
Forty-eight percent also said they expect the economy to grow over the next six months.
Gallup noted, however, that the survey preceded the Commerce Department report last week that said the U.S. economy shrank by nearly 5 percent over the first three months of 2020.
Monday's survey showed almost 50 percent of respondents said they expect unemployment to increase between now and mid-October to early November. Just 6 percent said they expect it to remain steady.
"That merely confirmed weeks of reports that the economic shutdown resulting from COVID-19 was throttling the economy. Thus, many Americans may assume the economy can only improve by the fall, especially if states have reopened," Gallup wrote.
The new survey showed 43 percent rate the present economy as "poor" and 33 percent classified it as "fair." Those who said it's in "excellent" or "good" condition fell to 23 percent -- compared to 63 percent who answered that way in early February, before the coronavirus crisis arrived in the United States.
Gallup said the results are based on phone and web surveys of more than 9,000 U.S. adults between April 14-28. The margin of error for the results vary between 2 and 4 points, it said.