COVID-19

Even high schoolers are feeling economic uncertainty

Andie Corban May 4, 2020
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Vivienne Dragun, a student in Midland, Texas. "This is one of the biggest years of my life," she said. Courtesy of Vivienne Dragun
COVID-19

Even high schoolers are feeling economic uncertainty

Andie Corban May 4, 2020
Vivienne Dragun, a student in Midland, Texas. "This is one of the biggest years of my life," she said. Courtesy of Vivienne Dragun
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Vivienne Dragun, 18, is a high school senior in Midland, Texas. Even while social distancing and staying home, Dragun can feel a sense of anxiety in her hometown, where the economy is based almost entirely on oil.

“In 2008-2009, there was an oil bust here,” Dragun said. “I was only about 7 years old, but I remember how empty the town was and how there was very little traffic. I think that everyone here remembers the bust, and we’re all worried that it’s gonna happen again.”

Dragun is facing uncertainty in her personal life too.

“This is one of the biggest years of my life,” Dragun said. “I’m graduating high school, I’m moving out for college and I’m being an independent adult for the first time ever. Coronavirus is making me unsure if I’m going to do any of those things in 2020.”

Dragun planned on spending this summer saving money for college by working as a lifeguard in Midland. Her earnings were meant to cover things like going out with friends or buying new clothes.

“I’m a little unsure if I’ll actually have my job this summer,” Dragun said. “It would mean I have to either get a job at school or count on working next summer because this summer is going to be, hopefully, a big time for me to make a lot of the money I’m going to need in college.”

This series only works with your help. Let us know how your economy is doing using the form below, and your story may be featured on a future edition of “My Economy.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

How many people are flying? Has traveled picked up?

Flying is starting to recover to levels the airline industry hasn’t seen in months. The Transportation Security Administration announced on Oct. 19 that it’s screened more than 1 million passengers on a single day — its highest number since March 17. The TSA also screened more than 6 million passengers last week, its highest weekly volume since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. While travel is improving, the TSA announcement comes amid warnings that the U.S. is in the third wave of the coronavirus. There are now more than 8 million cases in the country, with more than 219,000 deaths.

How are Americans feeling about their finances?

Nearly half of all Americans would have trouble paying for an unexpected $250 bill and a third of Americans have less income than before the pandemic, according to the latest results of our Marketplace-Edison Poll. Also, 6 in 10 Americans think that race has at least some impact on an individual’s long-term financial situation, but Black respondents are much more likely to think that race has a big impact on a person’s long-term financial situation than white or Hispanic/Latinx respondents.

Find the rest of the poll results here, which cover how Americans have been faring financially about six months into the pandemic, race and equity within the workplace and some of the key issues Trump and Biden supporters are concerned about.

What’s going to happen to retailers, especially with the holiday shopping season approaching?

A report out recently from the accounting consultancy BDO USA said 29 big retailers filed for bankruptcy protection through August. And if bankruptcies continue at that pace, the number could rival the bankruptcies of 2010, after the Great Recession. For retailers, the last three months of this year will be even more critical than usual for their survival as they look for some hope around the holidays.

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