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Economic anxiety spikes during coronavirus pandemic as Americans see their incomes decline
Nearly one-third of Americans are losing sleep over financial worries, according to a new survey from public radio news program Marketplace and Somerville, New Jersey-based Edison Research conducted in late April and released May 5.
The regular poll includes an Economic Anxiety Index that spiked to 35, after steadily declining since 2017 and reaching a record low of 28 in May 2019. (The index was at 36 in October 2016.) The recent bump was the “highest survey-to-survey spike” since the survey series began, according to a May 5 Marketplace report.
The survey shows that people with lower incomes (below $25,000 a year) had “high anxiety even in the good economy, before COVID-19 hit” and it has only grown worse, according to the Marketplace report. And now high earners ($100,000 and above) are anxious, too — “significantly more than before the pandemic.”
- 32% of households have lost income since the pandemic began.
- 26% of respondents have had a pay cut.
- 36% of Americans are working fewer hours.
- 69% of respondents are currently unemployed or fear losing their jobs in the next year.
- 41% of Americans say they could not pay an unexpected $250 expense; 59% say they could not pay an unexpected $1,000 expense.
- 44% say they are afraid they will be unable to afford groceries.
The Marketplace-Edison Research Survey is a national survey of Americans age 18 and older. A total of 1,018 respondents were interviewed, by phone and online, from April 23-28.