SBB Research Group has conducted and analyzed nationwide surveys to study personal, economic and societal effects of the global pandemic on American life.
Chicago, March 31, 2020 – In an effort to better understand the unprecedented, global impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), SBB Research Group has released the initial results from its series of national COVID-19 outlook surveys. The Chicago-area investment management company aims to forecast financial markets by aggregating and analyzing a wide range of data.
“Especially in such unusual times, surveys can provide invaluable data regarding current perceptions in the US,” said Sam Barnett, PhD, the CEO of SBB Research Group. “In addition to enhancing our investment strategies, new insights into the personal, economic, and societal effects of the pandemic can help inform policymakers, healthcare providers, individuals, and other businesses and organizations.”
Personal Concern Regarding Financial Backlash
Of particular interest is the level of financial concern across the country. SBB’s survey data showed that Americans are “very concerned” about the financial repercussions of the pandemic—even more so than their own health. Individuals tended to be only “somewhat concerned” about personally contracting COVID-19, but “very concerned” about vulnerable loved ones.
Easing Tensions After Economic Relief Bill Passed
Financial anxiety across the nation has decreased slightly after the $2 trillion economic stimulus package—the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act—was passed unanimously in the Senate last week. Before the bill was passed, a third of people surveyed were “extremely concerned.” Since then, the proportion has fallen to a quarter. Additionally, only 10 percent were “not at all concerned” or “not so concerned” prior to the stimulus package, but since then, 17 percent fall into those two categories of lowest concern.
Pessimistic Views of the Federal Government
Despite passing the CARES Act, people are not giving the federal government much credit for easing their concerns. Regardless of political party, survey respondents tended to view Congress as having a “mild negative impact” on them. By contrast, local governments were reviewed more favorably, with average responses ranging from “neutral” to a “mild positive impact.”
More than a quarter of Republicans responded that the Trump administration has had a “significant positive impact.” Only one percent of Independents and no Democrats shared that view. Almost three quarters of Democrats, more than half of Independents, and one in ten Republicans actually said the opposite—that the White House has had a “significant negative impact” on them.
Changing Workforce Dynamics
The stimulus package and other economic relief efforts by the federal government are intended to help Americans who have been financially hurt by the COVID-19 outbreak. For example, more than a third of full-time and part-time workers have experienced a significant change in their employment status or hours:
17 percent remain employed, but with reduced hours.
6 percent remain employed, but not able to work (still collecting a paycheck).
10 percent have been temporarily laid off, but expect to return to work.
2 percent have been laid off permanently.
In addition, 30 percent of full-time employees are still required to work on site, especially in manufacturing, government, healthcare, and food services. However, 34 percent are now required to work remotely, 15 percent have the option to do so, and 17 percent already had this option or requirement.
For more details about these findings, other COVID-19 survey results, and future updates from this research series, please visit www.covidoutlook.com.
Survey Methodology Initial results based on 658 respondents in the United States who answered five-minute online questionnaires between March 19, 2020 and March 29, 2020. Most questions prompted answers on Likert-type scales. Certain analyses are based on subsets of the survey population only, and the participant counts for each subset is listed at www.covidoutlook.com/insights. Additional details about the survey methods and their limitations are available at www.covidoutlook.com/methods.
About SBB Research Group Founded in 2010, SBB Research Group is an innovative Chicago-area investment management firm. Founder and CEO Sam Barnett, PhD, is an applied mathematician and neuroscientist specializing in quantitative predictions of complex systems, and COO and CCO Matt Aven provides expertise in economics and computer science. They lead an interdisciplinary team of researchers continually striving to optimize the protection and growth of investor capital. The company specializes in creating bespoke funds seeking both stability and long-term results through a systematic investment approach.