About Half Of Households Have Lost Income To The Coronavirus

Demonstrators demand that Gov. Larry Hogan (R) lift restrictions that have closed certain businesses in Maryland since the coronavirus outbreak on Church Circle in Annapolis, Md., on Saturday, April 18, 2020. The event titled Operation Gridlock Annapolis was hosted by the Patriot Picket and Reopen Maryland. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Half of American adults report that either they or someone in their household has lost a job or income due to the impact of the coronavirus.

Marist College surveyed 1,008 adults across the United States by phone in a poll sponsored by NPR and PBS NewsHour. The results, released on Wednesday, show that the economic impact of the coronavirus has hit about half of U.S. households as some states begin the early stages of reopening their economies.

“There are few households in the country that haven’t been affected by this crisis, through health, through school, through jobs, from all walks of life, from all backgrounds,” Marist Poll director Barbara Carvalho told NPR. “No one has really gone untouched. However, we certainly see from the data as well that a lack of a strong safety net, especially for many middle-class or working-class Americans, it has some really, really big holes in it.

“These numbers show the struggle, the impact the crisis has had on Americans,” she added.

Marist asked participants whether they or someone in their household had lost a job or income because of the pandemic. After accounting for those that were already retired or unemployed for different reasons, 50% of respondents answered that the coronavirus had hit their bank accounts. The poll is statistically significant within ±3.4 percentage points.

Households making less than $50,000 a year were harder hit with 55% of respondents answering that the pandemic had affected their household’s income. Other demographics that responded “yes” in greater numbers are those without a college education (55%), minorities (60%), and those under 45 years old (55%).

Efforts to reopen businesses and allow millions of employers and employees to begin working again are picking up in state capitals and in Washington, D.C. Thousands of struggling people are protesting across the U.S. over heavy-handed coronavirus restrictions demanding that state governments lift stay-at-home orders barring them from working.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R), despite harsh criticism, is following the most aggressive plan to get his constituents back to work. Georgia lifted a lockdown order from many businesses on Friday, allowing them to open up for customers as long as each followed social distancing and sanitation guidelines laid out by the state health department.

In the first quarter of 2020, the U.S. economy plummeted at a 4.8% annual rate as thousands of businesses were forced to shut down because of the pandemic, the Commerce Department announced Wednesday. The drop in GDP is the first in six years, ending the longest economic expansion in history.

The Department of Labor reported last week that 4.4 million more Americans had filed unemployment claims, bringing the total number of jobs lost since the outbreak of the coronavirus in the U.S. to over 26 million. Experts say the current real unemployment rate could be anywhere from just over 10% up to roughly 45%.

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