4 in 10 feeling economic effects of COVID-19 crisis: poll

4 in 10 feeling economic effects of COVID-19 crisis: poll
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Forty-three percent of Americans are still feeling the economic impacts of the COVID-19 crisis, according to a new poll by The Associated Press and NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

The poll found that about half of the Americans surveyed experienced at least one form of household income loss during the pandemic: 25 percent faced a household layoff, and 31 percent said a member of their household was scheduled for fewer hours.

Overall, 44 percent of respondents said the income loss they experienced over the course of the pandemic is still affecting their finances.

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The poll also showed that the pandemic is having a disproportionate economic effect on Black and Latino households, in addition to younger Americans.

The survey found that 38 percent of Hispanics and 29 percent of Black Americans experienced a layoff in their household since the pandemic began, compared to only 21 percent of white Americans.

When it came to age, 40 percent of Americans under 30 reported having lower income now as compared to March 2020. Around 4 in 10 of younger Americans were scheduled for fewer hours, and about 25 percent quit their job.

Overall, 30 percent of Americans polled said their current household income is lower than it was at the start of the pandemic, while only 16 percent said it is now higher, and 53 percent reported no change.

A quarter of the Americans surveyed said they could not pay one or more bills in the last month. One in ten Americans were unable to make a housing payment in the last month, and about that many struggled to pay a credit card bill in the same time frame.

The findings from the poll are consistent with recent economic data. According to Labor Department data cited by The Associated Press, about 745,000 Americans filed for unemployment benefits the week of Feb. 22, and roughly 18 million Americans are still on the unemployment rolls.

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The poll results also illustrate what some economists are calling a “K-shaped recovery.” Individuals with office jobs were able to transition to working from home, while those who worked in industries more directly impacted by lockdowns related to the pandemic, such as businesses connected to the travel, entertainment and restaurant industries, are still struggling.

Race and income are additional factors, as the poll found the poor struggling to recover more than wealthier households. In addition, Black and Latino households struggled more to recover compared to white households.

The poll did find that many people are saving more money because they are not dining out, traveling and attending live entertainment. According to the poll, 43 percent of respondents said they have been saving more money than usual, and 29 percent said they are paying down debt faster than normal.

Overall, 56 percent of those polled are spending less money than they ordinarily would.

The poll surveyed 1,434 adults between Feb. 25 and March 1. The margin of sampling error is 3.4 percentage points.