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Poll: Nearly 1 in 5 Americans say they or someone in their household is unemployed, saw hours cut due to coronavirus

a man sits on stairs with a box of belongings after being laid off

Story at a glance

  • A new poll shows that almost 20 percent of adults themselves have or someone in their household has been let go or had work hours reduced because of the novel coronavirus.
  • A higher percentage of people with a household income of less than $50,000 answered yes compared to other parts of the population.
  • Republicans, white noncollege graduates, people 45 or older and those living in small towns or rural areas reported a lesser percentage of job loss due to the pandemic.

Almost 1 in 5 Americans report they or someone in their household have lost work due to the novel coronavirus pandemic in a new poll

In response to a NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll, 18 percent of adults, excluding those who are not employed or retired, said they or someone in their household had been let go or had their work hours reduced because of COVID-19. That number rises to 25 percent, or 1 in 4, among people with a household income of less than $50,000. 

At the same time, a greater percentage of white college graduates said they had lost work than white noncollege graduates. Women, those under 45, as well as people in small cities or suburbs also responded yes at higher percentages than their counterparts.

The poll also reported that about one-third of all Americans had changed their work routine in some way because of the novel coronavirus pandemic. More than 40 percent of men in small cities and suburbs as well as college graduates reported changes in their work routine. On the other hand, 1 in 5 people in small towns or rural areas reported changes to their work routine due to coronavirus, at a rate less than any other group surveyed.


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The poll also asked Americans how they thought the president and their state governments were handling the pandemic, as well as the level of trust they had in information from public officials, experts, local governments and the news media. 

State and local governments were the most trusted, with 72 percent of people saying they trusted their information a great deal, while half of those surveyed said they trusted information from the news media. Meanwhile only 37 percent of adults trust the information they hear about the coronavirus from President Trump.


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