Coronavirus cost nearly ONE IN FOUR Americans their jobs as the economic damage from the pandemic continues to mount
03/28/2020 // Franz Walker // Views

Almost one out of every four American adults say that they’ve either been laid off or furloughed because of the coronavirus outbreak, a recent poll says. However, the same poll also shows that most Americans are fine with keeping businesses closed down to help fight the coronavirus outbreak.

The Reuters/Ipsos March 26-27 opinion poll, released Friday, showed that a majority of Americans want businesses to stay closed to slow down the spread of the disease regardless of its impact on the economy. Specifically, 81 percent answered that the current social distancing initiatives, including “shelter in place” and “stay at home” orders, should continue regardless of their impact on the nation’s economy.

Party allegiances didn’t affect what people were saying either. Of those who identified themselves as Republicans, 70 percent were in agreement with keeping the social distancing measures in place. Meanwhile, 89 percent of those who identified as Democrats agreed with this.

Only 19 percent of respondents said they would want the economy to restart. This number includes 11 percent of Democrats and 30 percent of Republicans.

People are fine with social distancing measures despite the loss of jobs

The Reuters/Ipsos poll gathered responses from 1,112 adults throughout the United States. The poll, which was conducted online in English, has a credibility interval, a measure of precision, of 3 percent, meaning that the results can vary by 3 percent either way.

The respondents’ commitment to social distancing comes despite the economic toll it’s taking on the country. The initiatives have already seen many businesses close their doors, causing people to either be furloughed or laid off.


Of those polled, 23 percent, or nearly one in every four respondents, admitted that they had either lost their jobs due to measures to slow down the coronavirus, or that their employers had closed, meaning that they no longer went to work, but were technically still employed by them.

Despite them being fine with the social distancing measures, Americans still feel a high level of concern about the economy. Only 30 percent said that they feel that the U.S. economy was headed in the “right direction.” This represents the lowest level of confidence in polling since February of 2018.

The respondents’ negative perception of the economy mirrors that of many economists, especially in terms of unemployment. Many now believe that the country’s unemployment rate will surpass the 10 percent level it experienced during the 2007-2008 financial crisis.

Unemployment rising at record levels

When the Department of Labor released its weekly report on jobless claims last Thursday, it recorded the single largest increase over a week. 3.2 million people filed for unemployment benefits during the previous week. Before this, the record for the highest amount of jobless claims ever filed in a week was 695,000 back in 1982.

While the rise in unemployment is already massive, many economists are predicting that it will go higher. James Bullard, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, said that unemployment levels may rise as high as 30 percent. Meanwhile,  Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist at Capital Economics in Toronto, warned that “the unemployment rate could remain elevated for years.”

To counter the rising unemployment, President Donald Trump has set a target of April 12, Easter Sunday, for businesses to reopen. However, it looks like most people are still unsure about whether it will be safe to go back to work by then. The poll found that only 31 percent of those surveyed were “very likely” to follow the president’s recommendation. Most, it seems, are either turning to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or their state governors, with 66 percent saying they would follow advice from the former and 51 percent saying they would also follow instructions from the latter.

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