Key Highlights

  • According to new survey by research platform Survey Monkey for The New York Times, 6 in 10 who COVID-impacted do not expect to return to their old jobs
  • Consumer confidence dipped…only 24% say they better of now than one year ago
  • Most jobless workers in states accepting benefits unlikely to see extra weekly unemployment benefits ($300-$400) until end of August at the earliest, according to Federal Emergency Management Agency

Since consumer spending accounts for nearly 70% of the US economy, taking the pulse of pandemic-impacted jobless workers gives us solid clues about the impending state of our economy.

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In mid-August, Survey Monkey for The New York Times, the pulse of the country’s jobless workers, and therefore the economy’s, is weaker than it was in July. Approximately 6 in 10 jobless workers, up from 5 in 10 in July, do not expect to return to their old jobs. Only 13% of jobless workers anticipate returning to their old jobs next month, down from 22% in July. 28%, same as in July, expect to return to their old jobs eventually and 59%, up from 50% in July, expect they will never return to their old jobs.

With those kinds of percentages, it’s no surprise that pessimism is growing and other measures of economic activity are losing momentum. Overall consumer confidence has dipped to just 24% of Americans saying now that they are better off than they were compared to one year ago, the lowest share of consumer confidence in three and a half years. Obviously, the longer the COVID pandemic lasts and the longer people are jobless, the slower the economic recovery.

Adding to an economic lag, The Federal Emergency Management Agency, the agency Trump assigned to deliver emergency pandemic aid to jobless workers in his executive order, said on August 17 that jobless workers hoping/expecting to receive an extra $300-$400/week in unemployment benefits will likely have to wait until the end of August, at best, to receive that aid.

Only seven states as of August 20 (New Mexico, Arizona, Iowa, Louisiana, Colorado, Missouri and Utah) have been approved to receive these FEMA funds to provide jobless workers ONLY three weeks of aid. Additional funds may be provided on a week-to-week basis. Other states will have to apply and, if approved, will have to wait even longer to turn around this federal aid to its jobless workers.

Did I mention that 70% of our economy relies on consumer spending?

 

Thanks to Survey Monkey, The New York Times and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Also read: Confidence in Housing Weakening as Affordability Improving, State Unemployment Agencies Could Take Months to Adapt to New Benefits Plan, 2019 Drop in Foreign Sales Temporary or Prognostic?