Americans head into summer confident in their finances as the rally slows

Americans are better able to manage their bills, but uncertainty around back to the office remains. Meanwhile, parents who are hesitant about the vaccine for themselves are still wary of allowing their children to get one, pointing to barriers along the path towards herd immunity.

The author(s)

  • Sarah Feldman Data Journalist, US, Public Affairs
  • Catherine Morris Data Journalist, US, Public Affairs
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June 8- Americans are better able to manage their bills, but uncertainty around back to the office remains. Meanwhile, parents who are hesitant about the vaccine for themselves are still wary of allowing their children to get one, pointing to barriers along the path towards herd immunity.

Americans more confident in ability to pay off debt

Confidence is growing among Americans in their ability to pay off their mortgages, car loans, credit cards, and other debt, with those responding that they are very confident soaring around 20-points year-over-year, according to analysis from Country Financial/Ipsos.

Right now, those who are very confident in their ability to pay off debt are demographics that tend to be more financially stable. College-educated people (76%), 401k holders (73%), people making over $50k (70%), homeowners (68%) and those without kids (62%) are all among those to report that they are very confident in their ability to manage their debt.

Younger people, renters, those without 401ks and parents are now more confident than at the height of the pandemic last April that they can manage their larger bills, but they still lag behind these other, more stable groups.

Improvements in Americans’ purchasing confidence slows

More than half of Americans say they are now more comfortable about making non-major household purchases compared to six months ago, part and parcel of a broader shift towards greater economic optimism. However, this pace of increase has essentially stopped over the last two months.

Comfort with making a non-major household purchase (defined as any household purchase of under $5,000) jumped from February to April of this year. Corresponding with significantly improved at this point compared to outlook in June 2020. But the plateau in sentiment may signal that consumers may be in something of a holding pattern due to rising costs and a still rebounding job market.

As Americans head back to the office, more plan on commuting and changing their work wardrobe

One in five Americans expect that as they return to the office, they’ll have to wake up earlier, and change their commute, what they wear, and how they shop and plan for meals, the Ipsos COVID Consumer Tracker finds.

But, even as people brace for these behavior changes, not everyone is feeling the same. Naturally, people who have been mostly or at least sometimes working from home are preparing to see more lifestyle changes going forward than those who have not.

Also, higher income Americans, who tended to work remotely last year, are more likely to be facing these lifestyle changes as back to the office nears and workplaces reopen regularly.

Similarly, urban and suburban Americans are anticipating making these changes more than rural Americans, a reflection of who was more likely to be working remotely during the pandemic.

Family reunions ahead this summer

This summer, a majority of parents are planning to let their kids visit family and friends, indoors and out. Many are also planning to enroll their kids in summer activities, and a smaller share plan to send them to day or overnight camp.

Although there is no vaccine for children under the age of 12 yet, the Ipsos Consumer COVID tracker indicates that parents are planning busy summers for their children regardless of their age. Parents who work from home are more likely to be planning to send their kids to camp and enroll them in summer activities. Likewise, parents who have been vaccinated, or plan to get the vaccine, are more likely to want to send their kids to camp.

Vaccine hesitancy between adults and kids makes reaching herd immunity difficult

Only half of parents are likely to get their kids vaccinated (38%) or already have done so (15%), a number that’s dropped slightly in the past two weeks, according to the Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

The CDC reports that 171 million adults and teens are in the process of getting vaccinated or are fully vaccinated. With about 21 million teenagers between the ages of 12 and 17 eligible for the vaccine, only vaccinating 38% of them would add another 8 million vaccinated people to the inoculated mix.

Polling suggests that an additional 18 million more adults may get the COVID-19 vaccine. If every single one of those people gets vaccinated, that still puts the country at just 197 million vaccinated people.

That doesn’t get the nation to the 70% of people or 230 million Americans that need to be fully vaccinated to reach a conservative estimate of herd immunity.

Still, the vaccine for teens in this age group is relatively new, and parents’ perspectives on vaccinating their kids could still change. Earlier in the pandemic, as adults became eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine and familiarized themselves with it, vaccine intent rose.

The author(s)

  • Sarah Feldman Data Journalist, US, Public Affairs
  • Catherine Morris Data Journalist, US, Public Affairs

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