Survey: Two thirds of Floridians lost income because of pandemic

Broken piggy bank with cash and coins on wooden background
Furloughs, layoffs and pay cuts hit 70% of Floridians' household income.

About 70% of Floridians took a blow to household income from the pandemic, a University of South Florida poll shows.

Furloughs, layoffs and cuts in personal income make the financial impact of the current economic crisis broad. The survey, conducted by USF and Nielsen between April 15 and 24, found that almost two thirds of Floridians have been affected professionally in some way.

Nearly 12% of workers were laid off and another 18% got temporarily furloughed. Nearly 27% of workers had their hours cut and more than 13% had a reduction in wages or pay.

As a result, more than 60% of Floridians are concerned about their ability to meet financial obligations over the next three months. And with a crisis that launched just since the first known coronavirus case in Florida became known in early March, a third of respondents weren’t at all financially prepared for the instant economic devastation.

More than 15% of workers have filed for unemployment, which contributed to record claims crushing a beleaguered state system.

Nearly 7% of workers in Florida have now applied for a new job.

Only 34% have felt no direct financial blow from the pandemic, and the pain has been disproportionately felt within minority communities. More than 40% of African American Floridians had their hours cut, compared to 23% of whites, for example. About 21% of African Americas had a pay cut and 18% were laid off. Meanwhile, 11% of whites took a cut in pay and 10% were laid off. African Americans filed for unemployment at twice the rate of whites (26% compared to 13%.)

Hispanic workers are twice as likely as non-Hispanics to have been laid off at work (18% versus 9%).

Floridians with the lowest incomes were most likely to feel economic pain from the current crisis while being less prepared for it.

Even those who kept their jobs felt significant changes in the way they conducted work. Almost 23% of those surveyed began working from home full-time during the pandemic, and another 10% started working remote part-time. Close to 10% of workers experienced a change in job duties.

More than half of Florida has started video-conferencing more in the wake of the pandemic. Nearly 47% report a spike in phone usage and more than 42% increased their social media screen time.

The survey of 600 Floridians reports a 4% margin of error.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected]


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