KEY POINTS

  • A new poll reveals that Americans under 45 are losing work in large numbers
  • Black Americans are being disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic
  • The $1,200 stimulus bill passed by Congress will pay for 1 month of expenses for most

A new poll has laid out the extent of the job losses that have impacted Americans, and the unequal ways it is impacting people, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to ripple across the country. The poll, from Data for Progress, indicates that more than half, or 52%, of Americans under the age of 45 have seen their work hours reduced. That compares to only 26% of those over the age of 45 who have been similarly impacted, implying younger Americans are bearing the brunt of the economic devastation. 

Overall, a third of the U.S. workforce has already lost their job, been furloughed, placed on temporary leave, or had hours reduced, the poll found. 

Black Americans, who have recorded disproportionate death rates in the novel coronavirus outbreak, are also among those most negatively impacted by the economic slowdown. The study indicates that nearly half of them, or 45%, have seen their work hours reduced, compared to 31% of white Americans -- adding another data point to back the assertion made by many that the pandemic is exacerbating existing inequalities in society and is not affecting everyone equally.

Data for Progress goes on to highlight that “62% of African-American respondents report that they expect to have issues covering costs within the next month, and that 63% would be unable to pay their bills within a month if they lost their income.”

Additionally, the poll indicates that half of the respondents can last one month or less before they would be unable to pay their bills; and 41% of people who have lost their jobs because of the pandemic are already having problems covering their basic costs —  with 26% saying they will have issues paying their bills in two weeks.

These figures form the backdrop to Congress’ coronavirus relief packages passed the past month, as it is clear that without government aid, millions will have their lives completely upended by their inability to cover their costs amid the slowdown, lockdowns, and social distancing rules that are holding back a return to economic activity. The $1,200 stimulus checks that Congress is planning to send to workers will cover just one month of expenses for most Americans, according to this poll. It likely means that this most recent stimulus bill will not be the last one passed by Congress.