More Americans are happier in March 2021 than they’ve been for a year, based on consumer research from Civic Science polling U.S. adults in early March 2021. For the first time, a larger percent of Americans said they were better off financially since the start of the pandemic.
This week, Civic Science shared their latest data on what they’re seeing beyond the coronavirus quarantine era to forecast trends that will shape a post-COVID America.
Buoying peoples’ growing optimism was the expectation of the passage of the American Cares Act, which President Biden signed into effect yesterday. The HPA-CS Economic Sentiment Index ticked up as of March 2nd, with as many people bullish on the national U.S. economy as they are for their personal finances — roughly 55% of U.S. adults optimistic for both household and national economics.
Peoples’ interest in purchasing anything major (think: washing machines and other durable household goods) lag, with greater personal interest to use their pent-up demand and cash savings on “experience spending” on, say travel, recreational activities, going to the movies, and dining out.
That’s because, Civic Science intuits, there is a growing consensus among consumers that we see a light at the end of the long COVID-19 quarantine-tunnel. The survey saw a dramatic decline in the percent of Americans expecting to wait over 6 months of self-isolation and social distancing — from 52% in mid-January to 31% in the first week of March 2021.
What a difference a vaccine supply makes along with growing opportunities to schedule a vaccination.
Civic Science commented that vaccine uptake is “climbing wonderfully,” noting a decline in the number of anti-vaxxers in recent weeks.
But vaccine availability, and the pandemic economic impacts, are not affecting all people in the U.S. symmetrically or equitably.
While one-half of Americans are still working as usual or more hours, the study found, and 18% are working via remote modes, fully one-third of people in the U.S. have reduced hours/pay, or are unemployed without pay.
The rich are “definitely” getting richer, Civic Science calls out, finding that nearly 50% of people earning over $100K a year are financially better off now than before the COVID-19 pandemic….and on the other hand, 37% of people earning under $50K a year have been made financially worse off than before the public health crisis.
This has result in (at least) Two Americas, based on different demographics and social factors: those people working versus those not working, the rich v. the poor, young vs. old, rural compared with urban, and to be sure, partisans: Dems v. GOP voters.
Putting a very fine and descriptive point on the Republican versus Democrat world-view chasm, Civic Science discovered that 74% of GOP voters are “now” ready to eat inside a restaurant, versus only 36% of Democrats.
Health Populi’s Hot Points: Another key demographic rift in the Two Americas in the Civic Science research was Male versus Female.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ data published in February 2021 calculated that women’s labor force participate rate hit a 33-year low in January 2021.
The Economist called the coronavirus economy the “first female recession in 50 years.”
Women represent nearly 60% of displaced workers since the start of the pandemic, Civic Science discovered, compared with 49% of men whose jobs were impacted by the COVID-19 epidemic.
The financial hits taken by women due to the pandemic economy have also negatively impacted younger women under 35 compared with women 55 and over. 35% of women between 18 and 34 were worse off than before the COVID-19 crisis compared with 23% of men between 18 and 34.
At the same time, working mothers are carrying a heavier financial loss than Dads, Civic Science quantified, shown in this chart. See that 64% of working Moms say they are financially worse off due to the COVID-19 pandemic compared with 36% of fathers — 65% of whom say they are “better off” financially as of early March compared with pre-COVID.
In his first primetime speech since taking office, President Biden spoke last night on the anniversary of the COVID-19 shutdown, highlighting a key date as a “next normal” milestone: July 4th, 2021. That “could” be the weekend when families and small groups might safely come together for barbeques, beer toasts, and hugs between the generations.
That is, if the bulk of Americans chose everyday life flows based on the science of mask-wearing, physical distancing, and indeed, getting their vaccinations by mid-June.