AP-NORC Poll: Many Americans Still Face Financial Loss From COVID-19

About 4 in 10 Americans say they are still feeling the financial impact of losing a job or household income, as the economic recovery remains uneven a year after the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

A new poll from the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research provides further evidence that the pandemic has been devastating for some Americans, while leaving others virtually unscathed or even in better shape, at least when it comes to their lives. finances. The outcome often depended on the type of job a person had and their level of income before the pandemic.

The pandemic has particularly affected black and Latino households, as well as young Americans, some of whom are currently going through the second major economic crisis of their adulthood.

“I just felt like we were in a more difficult position already, so (the pandemic) kind of threw us even further underground,” said Kennard Taylor, a 20-year-old black student at Jackson College. Taylor lost her job as a waiter in the campus cafeteria in the first weeks of the pandemic and struggled to pay her rent and car while continuing her education. He had to return to live with his family.

The poll shows that about half of Americans say they experienced at least some form of loss of household income during the pandemic, including 25% who experienced a layoff and 31% who say a household member had to move on. less hours. Overall, 44% said their household had suffered a loss of income due to the pandemic which still impacted their finances.

The survey results are consistent with recent economic data. According to the Department of Labor, about 745,000 Americans applied for unemployment benefits the week of February 22, and about 18 million Americans are still registered as unemployed.

Thirty percent of Americans say their current household income is lower than it was at the start of the pandemic, while 16% say it is higher and 53% say there has not been. no change. About half of those who suffered some form of loss of household income during the pandemic say their current household income is lower than it was.

The poll results reflect what some economists have called a “K-shaped recovery,” where there have been divergent fortunes among Americans. Those with office jobs were able to switch to working from home while those who worked in hard hit sectors such as entertainment, catering, travel and other industries continued to struggle. The poor have struggled to recover financially from the rich, and black and Latino households have not rebounded as well as their white counterparts.

Logan DeWitt, 30, kept his government job during the pandemic because he was able to work remotely. But his wife, a childminder, lost her job and after months of looking for a new one, she returned to school. Their financial situation was further complicated by the fact that their first child was born in the first months of the pandemic.

“We planned to buy a house. We had to give up on that idea and got together in one car. We cook a lot at home and buy in bulk, ”DeWitt said.

About 1 in 10 Americans say they haven’t been able to make a housing payment in the past month due to the pandemic, and about as many say it’s a credit card bill . Overall, about a quarter of Americans report being unable to pay one or more bills in the past month.

Thirty-eight percent of Hispanics and 29% of black Americans have been made redundant in their households at some point in the past year, compared to 21% of white Americans.

This recession has also been particularly hard on young Americans. Forty percent of Americans under 30 report lower incomes now, compared to March 2020. About 4 in 10 were scheduled for fewer hours. About a quarter say they have quit their job. Many millennials who experienced the Great Recession early in their adulthood are now experiencing another major financial crisis.

Congress set to finalize Biden administration decision $ 1.9 trillion stimulus package this includes helping many Americans and businesses who are still feeling the impact of the pandemic. Timing is crucial – many relief measures adopted at the start of the pandemic, including unemployment benefits, will end in the coming weeks.

Things are not as dire as they were at the start of the pandemic for some Americans, in part because of previous actions by Washington. Plus, lifestyle changes – fewer restaurant meals, fewer trips, no live entertainment – have made it possible for some Americans to make their financial lives healthier. In the survey, about 4 in 10 people say they saved more money than usual, and about 3 in 10 paid off their debts faster than usual.

Tracie Jurgens, 44, works in the trucking industry. Jurgens said his income evaporated in the first weeks of the pandemic as demand for truckers plummeted. Jurgen’s boss was able to secure a loan through the Small Business Paycheck Protection Program, which he used to buy new equipment in the summer as things started to pick up.

“I don’t know what I would have done if he hadn’t had another truck,” she said.

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