A new survey indicates that hourly workers are bearing the brunt of unemployment and uncertainty in the face of the COVID-19-fueled recession. The survey found hourly workers are filing for unemployment in greater numbers, face challenges in accessing government assistance, and are more concerned about their ability to make ends meet as compared to salaried workers. Safety is also top of mind with more than a third of the hourly workers surveyed worried about being exposed to COVID-19 while on the job. The survey of 1,650 Americans was conducted this month.
According to the data, 42% of hourly workers have already filed or plan to file for unemployment benefits, compared to just 17% of salaried workers. Over half (57%) are concerned they won’t be able to find a new job if they have lost or may lose their job. Seventy-eight percent are worried they won’t be able to make ends meet during the pandemic, likely due to the fact that nearly half of hourly workers (47%) have less than $1,000 in savings.
The report also reveals hourly worker confusion over the CARES Act which provides workers who have been laid off or have reduced hours with extended unemployment benefits including an additional $600 a week. Nearly half (47%) say they are aware of the CARES Act but don’t know if they qualify or have no idea what it is. Further, 46% fear that overloaded government systems will prevent them from accessing unemployment benefits or other government assistance.
Additional highlights among the respondents collectively include:
- More than a third (38%) believe it will take the job market 11 months or longer to recover once the immediate danger of COVID-19 passes.
- The majority (70%) are worried about making ends meet during the pandemic and 40% have less than $1,000 in savings.
- Americans are most anxious about health and safety amid COVID-19 followed closely by how they’re going to pay for basic living expenses and a slow recovery that makes it difficult to get hired or keep a job.
- Nearly a third (30%) have had to file or plan to file for unemployment and 40% are concerned they won’t be able to access unemployment or government assistance due to technical glitches or confusing processes.