USF study measures Floridians’ opinions of COVID-19’s economic, social impacts

By The Numbers

Florida’s Department of Employment Opportunity has been under fire for failing to pay unemployment claims.

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A new study from the University of South Florida took a closer look at what Floridians think of the social and economic impacts of COVID-19.

Researchers from the university, in partnership with Nielsen, surveyed 600 people across the state between April 15 and April 24. The goal was to assess the social and financial impacts they’ve felt from the coronavirus.

Respondents, comprised of people aged 18 and up, answered 19 questions in the survey.

Among other findings, nearly two-thirds of survey respondents reported at least some level of income loss or work disruption. More than a quarter of households surveyed have had their hours cut at work since the start of the pandemic. In addition, almost 18 percent had experienced a temporary furlough from their employer.

The responses come as no surprise, as more than 2 million people have submitted unemployment claims to the state’s struggling Department of Economic Opportunity.

Florida households have been hard hit by the economic slowdown

More than 60 percent of those surveyed also reported that they were concerned about their ability to meet financial obligations in the coming months as a result of the pandemic. A third of them indicated they weren’t financially prepared for the economic strain caused by the coronavirus.

The survey also found that the pandemic has significantly changed work-life balance, as well as how people communicate. More than half of the respondents said they were videoconferencing more frequently than before the pandemic.

Floridians are staying connected in new ways

Nearly half of all respondents reported using the phone more frequently as well.

As of Wednesday, there have been 47,471 positive cases of the virus in Florida, including more than 2,000 deaths.

Industrywide, tourism revenue is down by more than $205.4 million every day, or a total of $3.28 billion in losses that directly impact employees.

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