COVID-19

Older consumers may be less inclined to go out and spend as the pandemic continues

Mitchell Hartman Oct 28, 2020
Heard on: Marketplace Morning Report
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Older Americans are also more leery of going out in the pandemic to shop at the mall, go to the gym or take a trip, according to data from research firm Morning Consult. Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images
COVID-19

Older consumers may be less inclined to go out and spend as the pandemic continues

Mitchell Hartman Oct 28, 2020
Older Americans are also more leery of going out in the pandemic to shop at the mall, go to the gym or take a trip, according to data from research firm Morning Consult. Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Consumer confidence was improving at the end of the summer, but now that appears to be stalling with the Conference Board’s report this week showing a slight decline in October.

That’s as COVID-19 cases surge across the country, while Congress remains deadlocked on passing another round of stimulus to help prop up households, businesses and the unemployed.

And, age matters when it comes to coping with the pandemic economy.

The research firm Morning Consult finds that baby boomers are more pessimistic about the future than millennials. Economist John Leer said, for a 55- or 60-year-old who’s out of work and looking ahead to retirement, “the time that older Americans have to make up their lost savings, their lost income, is much shorter than it is for younger adults.”

Older Americans are also more leery of going out in the pandemic to shop at the mall, go to the gym or take a trip.

Robert Frick, 63, an economist at Navy Federal Credit Union, sees the impact his generation is having.

“For myself and for my friends, we are very cautious,” Frick said. “We aren’t traveling, we’re not going to restaurants, we’re not spending. Younger people — unfortunately, they’re not in as good a financial condition — but they are traveling and spending more.”

Frick said older professional workers and retirees have done pretty well financially with the value of assets like stocks, homes and retirement accounts up in the pandemic.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

Are states ready to roll out COVID-19 vaccines?

Claire Hannan, executive director of the nonprofit Association of Immunization Managers, which represents state health officials, said states have been making good progress in their preparations. And we could have several vaccines pretty soon. But states still need more funding, she said. Hannan doesn’t think a lack of additional funding would hold up distribution initially, but it could cause problems down the road. “It’s really worrisome that Congress may not pass funding or that there’s information circulating saying that states don’t need additional funding,” she said.

How is the service industry dealing with the return of coronavirus restrictions?

Without another round of something like the Paycheck Protection Program, which kept a lot of businesses afloat during the pandemic’s early stages, the outlook is bleak for places like restaurants. Some in the San Francisco Bay Area, for example, only got one week of indoor dining back before cases rose and restrictions went back into effect. Restaurant owners are revamping their business models in an effort to survive while waiting to see if they’ll be able to get more aid.

How are hospitals handling the nationwide surge in COVID-19 cases?

As the pandemic surges and more medical professionals themselves are coming down with COVID, nearly 1 in 5 hospitals in the country report having a critical shortage of staff, according to data from the Department of Health and Human Services. One of the knock-on effects of staff shortages is that people who have other medical needs are being asked to wait.

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