The nation’s business economists have grown much more optimistic about the U.S. economy this year, with a majority predicting that increased vaccinations, stronger job gains and further government aid will accelerate growth to its fastest pace in nearly four decades.

A survey being released Monday by the National Association for Business Economics found that its panel expects the economy to expand 6.5% this year. That would be the sharpest such increase since 1984, when the nation was also emerging from a deep recession.

The NABE’s findings, based on the responses of 49 forecasters earlier this month, sketched a far brighter picture of the economy than its previous such survey, released in March, did. In that survey, the economists had collectively envisioned growth of just 4.8% this year.

The economy has been showing surprising strength and resilience in its recovery from the devastating pandemic recession, the worst since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Significant government aid is widely credited as a key factor. Last year, Congress approved $4 trillion in support measures after the recession, which had cost tens of millions of jobs. And in March, President Joe Biden pushed through $1.9 trillion in additional support this year, a package that included $1,400 payments to most individuals.

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