Why COVID May Wreck Family Finances, US Economy For Years To Come
Vaccines may slow the spread of coronavirus, but the pandemic’s devastating financial effects may last for years to come.
For many families, 2020 may be the year that forever changed everything. Millions of hardworking people living fairly comfortable, middle-class lifestyles suddenly found themselves unemployed, homeschooling children and caring for family members. Instead of two-earner homes, many counted themselves lucky to have even a single income.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 115 million people experienced losses in employment income from March 2020 through February 2021. And a Pew Research Center report notes that 40% of adults say that someone in their households has lost jobs or wages since the start of the pandemic.
"It's incredibly destabilizing in the short run," Elise Gould, a senior economist with the Economic Policy Institute, told NBC News. "People just simply don't have the savings to be able to weather job losses or to cut back on hours or furloughs to be able to continue paying their bills," she said.
Of those in the Pew Research Center report who suffered financial losses, 44% say it could take three or more years to rebound to 2019 levels. Ten percent doubt that their finances will ever bounce back.
On top of all this, what will a “recovered” U.S. economy and business world really look like? For many companies, it already means bringing back fewer workers. Add in schools reopening on staggered schedules, and many single parents and families with small children are facing a huge struggle to make available employment options work. Some have given up looking altogether.
The Biden Administration’s $1.9 trillion relief package is slated to bring much-needed relief, “lifting 11 million people out of poverty and cutting child poverty in half."
With a sharp uptick in food insecurity and older workers finding themselves left behind in the job search, every dollar is a huge investment in America’s immediate future. Right now, giving people that hope is priceless.
"I'm telling you that it can really mess with your sanity to go through changes significant like that we've gone through," Shanita Matthews, an independent contracting nurse, told NBC News.
"When I lost my job, I knew it was not going to be very easy to find another job. But I think I even underestimated it," said Carol, a 61-year-old travel consultant. "A lot of people say, 'Regardless of your stellar credentials, we've decided to pursue other candidates at this time.' Those take a little bit of your soul every time you get them," she said.