January 14, 2015 5:15 PM EST

President Obama’s job approval rating is improving, a new survey reported .

The Pew Research Center survey, which polled 1,504 adults between Jan. 7-11, reports that Obama’s job approval rating is five points higher than it was in December, at 42%. Pew says his ratings are on the up and up thanks to views among Americans that the economy is improving (somewhat). Overall, Americans who believe the economy is doing well increased 11% since Obama’s 2014 State of the Union.

Among those surveyed, 27% say economic conditions are good or excellent–which at first glance might seem low but is actually 16% higher than last year. Thirty-one percent say they expect the economy to be better rather than worse in a year from now. A year ago, only 17% thought this to be true.

The survey shows that for the first time in five years 38% of those surveyed say Obama’s economic policies have made conditions better. Twenty-eight percent say he’s made them worse and 30% say there’s been no effect. Sixty-six percent of Americans say the economy is recovering, but not strongly. Only 16% say the economy is growing strongly, though the report’s authors note that this is a growing population.

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