KEY POINTS

  • The pandemic has reduced disposable income, study finds
  • Surveys were conducted in early October
  • About 30% said they’d spend less even with another $1,200 check

Holiday shoppers in the U.S. would spend more this season if they got another round of stimulus, but most households still feel pinched, a study finds.

A report published by the Franklin Templeton-Gallup Economics of Recovery Study finds 22% of the respondents told surveyors they would spend more on holiday shopping than they did last year if another $1,200 stimulus was deposited soon. About 30% said they’d spend less.

Without a second stimulus check, however, the expectations aren’t that much different. Some 16% said they’d still spend more without another round of stimulus, while 37% said they’d spend less.

“Analysts are forecasting a major shift toward online shopping this holiday season, which should limit the decline in spending attributable to fears of contracting the coronavirus,” the report found. “But the crisis has also reduced many Americans' disposable income, at least temporarily.”

A $2 trillion relief package passed in March sent $1,200 checks to U.S. taxpayers and supplemented state unemployment insurance with $600 in federal support per installment. Those benefits have long-since expired.

On Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, shot down the latest offer in excess of $2 trillion from Democrats.

"That's not a place I think we're willing to go,” he said. “But I do think there needs to be another package. Hopefully, we can get past the impasse we've had now for four or five months and get serious about doing something that's appropriate." 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, described the Republican stance as unfortunate.

"It's like the house is burning down, and they just refuse to throw water on it,” the Washington Post quoted her as saying.

Before the election, President Donald Trump tabled a $1.9 trillion package, while Republicans pushed for a $500 billion deal that would not include another round of $1,200 checks. House Democrats blocked both bills.

For U.S. households, a joint report from the University of Chicago and Notre Dame found more households were falling into poverty because of the lack of additional financial support.

Answers to the self-administered web survey for Franklin Templeton-Gallup Economics of Recovery Study came from 5,002 U.S. adults from Oct. 1-9. No margin of error was provided.

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