Apr 1, 2020 - Economy & Business

Americans feel better about their finances after coronavirus stimulus

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Data: Axios/Ipsos survey, margin of error ranges from ±5 to ±9 percentage points; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

Americans have become more optimistic about the state of their finances in the last week, a new survey from Axios and Ipsos shows.

The state of play: While some remain worried, particularly those at the lower end of the economic spectrum, the data shows people are more confident about the security of their jobs and ability to take care of expenses after the passage of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act.

  • Results show there's growing belief that the worst may have passed and that measures taken by Congress and the Fed have helped assuage fear that the coronavirus outbreak will lead to prolonged economic calamity.

What's happening: "The stimulus news helped, along with the various payment forbearance, interest forgiveness, and eviction bans we have seen announced," Chris Jackson, public polling lead at Ipsos, tells Axios in an email.

  • "It’s not a large effect but does suggest anxiety on that aspect is flat for the time being."

Between the lines: Improved sentiment may have helped push the Dow to its best one-week gain since 1938 last week, and the S&P 500 and Nasdaq to their largest weekly gains since the end of the financial crisis in March 2009.

Quick take: The survey breaks down largely along economic lines, with wealthier white-collar workers much more confident than their lower-paid and less-educated cohort.

  • Particularly among respondents with high incomes and education levels, those who still have their jobs generally feel comfortable that they will keep them.

By the numbers: A survey from PwC taken before the bill's passage found that just 16% of CFOs said they were considering laying off employees in the next month, a testament to the confidence of large, well-heeled firms.

  • "We are excited and are inspired by the number of companies that have come up and talked about layoffs as a last resort," Tim Ryan, U.S. chairman and senior partner at PwC, tells Axios.

Yes, but: "What we’re hearing is if this drags out beyond three to four months those commitments will become more challenging," he adds.

Methodology: This Axios/Ipsos Poll was conducted March 27-30 by Ipsos' KnowledgePanel®. This poll is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 1,355 general population adults age 18 or older.

  • The margin of sampling error is +/- 2.8 percentage points at the 95% confidence level, for results based on the entire sample of adults.
  • The margin of error for each of the five socioeconomic segments is higher because the sample sizes are smaller. They ranged from +/- 5 percentage points for the middle-status group to +/- 9 percentage points for the upper-status group.

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