COVID-19 has disrupted every aspect of Americans' lives, including how we access food, healthcare and housing; how we work; and even how we interact with our loved ones. With nearly 12 million cases globally, 3 million of which are in the U.S., COVID-19 continues to threaten our health and economy. Central to the anxiety and uncertainty of this period is the unprecedented economic impact of the virus. Despite federal, state and local interventions, the June U.S. unemployment rate was 11.1%, up from 4.4% in March. The path to economic recovery and return to work for millions of Americans remains unclear, as many governors and local officials have halted reopening plans amid new outbreaks in their areas.
This month, Franklin Templeton and Gallup are announcing a new partnership -- the Franklin Templeton-Gallup Economics of Recovery Study -- to understand and forecast the economics of COVID-19, with the goal of better informing that path to recovery. This unprecedented, large-scale research effort will include interviews with thousands of U.S. adults every month to understand their behaviors and attitudes toward resuming pre-COVID-19 behaviors. It will also capture the extent of unemployment and underemployment brought about by the economic damage associated with COVID-19. By the end of 2020, Franklin Templeton and Gallup will have interviewed 35,000 U.S. adults. Franklin Templeton and Gallup will combine these self-reported attitudes and behaviors with objective, real-time comprehensive data sets that are publicly available, such as local infection rates, mobility data and unemployment benefit claims. The combination of survey-based and administrative data will allow for a more holistic understanding of economic recovery from COVID-19. Through this study, business leaders, policymakers, researchers and the media will better understand:
the public health-related scenarios in which consumers would resume previous spending levels (hospital capacity, local COVID-19 mortality, local COVID-19 caseload, development of a vaccine or other effective treatment)
consumers' support for reopening key services -- such as day cares, schools, restaurants, nonessential businesses -- based on various public health scenarios
recent or planned visits to or orders from restaurants, plane ticket purchases and hotel reservations, and the conditions under which consumers would feel comfortable engaging in those activities
consumers' willingness to visit restaurants or travel, based on a number of scenarios and factors such as restaurant capacity or number of sold seats on an airplane
the study data's connection to key economic indicators, such as employment and underemployment
Given the rapidly changing nature of this pandemic and the related implications for the economy, new items will be added to the survey each month. This design will allow the Franklin Templeton-Gallup teams to track a set number of metrics over time, while capturing new aspects of the economic impact of COVID-19.
The larger sample sizes will allow Franklin Templeton and Gallup to report results at the national and regional levels, as well as for some states and larger metropolitan areas. Franklin Templeton and Gallup will also be able to report the disproportionate impact of the disease on various subgroups of Americans and how behaviors differ among more vulnerable populations nationally. This will expand on previous research that has confirmed that economic damage from COVID-19 is unequally distributed. Results will be available for members of different income, race/ethnicity, political party, age and gender groups.
According to epidemiologists, the U.S. remains in its first wave of cases, and they warn that a second wave could hit in the fall of 2020, ensuring that reopening the economy will likely include many starts and stops as states grapple with public health concerns and the reality of continued disruptions to business operations. The Economics of Recovery Study will arm policymakers, researchers and the public with information about the impact of state, local and federal interventions and policies on the economy during this time -- providing valuable context for the path to economic recovery from COVID-19.
Initial findings will be released in August. If you are a member of the media who would like to learn more about the project's findings and release schedule, please reach out to Justin_McCarthy@gallup.com.