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Millions of Americans Struggling to Pay Their Bills

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We read a lot about the big-picture impacts of the economic meltdown caused by the government response to the coronavirus pandemic. We hear about the millions thrown out of work, the surge in corporate bankruptcies and small businesses shutting down, and the specter of surging inflation. But how has all of this impacted the average American?

In a nutshell, it has been devastating.

Data gathered by doxoINSIGHTS shows that more than half of all Americans (57%) have seen a reduction in income and 42% have skipped paying one or more bills since the COVID-19 pandemic started.

No wonder consumer confidence dipped this month as Americans soldier on with little expectation of economic improvement and many benefit programs set to expire by the end of the year. The Conference Board reported its consumer confidence index slipped to 100.9 in October, down from 101.3 in September. The projection was for an improvement in the index. More concerning is the fact that the October index was primarily calculated before the surge in coronavirus cases.

Here is a breakdown of the types of bill payments missed by Americans over the last seven months.

  • 27% have missed auto loans
  • 26% have missed utilities
  • 25% have missed cable/internet
  • 20% have missed rent
  • 19% have missed mobile phone
  • 17% have missed mortgage
  • 17% have missed alarm/security
  • 15% have missed auto insurance
  • 14% have missed dental insurance
  • 13% have missed life insurance
  • 10% have missed health insurance

Even those managing to keep up with their bills are feeling the pinch. According to the survey, 70% of consumers have delayed making big purchases.

This undercuts the narrative of a quick recovery. When consumers get behind on bills, they eventually have to catch up. That means less money to spend on other things, dragging down the economic recovery.

It also serves as a reminder. Economic lockdowns and government policies impact the real lives of real people. These statistics represent individuals dealing with the daily stress of making ends meet. We should never lose sight of the human beings behind the economic numbers.

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