Are Utahns experiencing COVID-19 stimulus fatigue?
Maybe not, but data from a new poll by the Deseret News-Hinckley Institute of Politics shows that more than half of residents don’t see the latest and most generous round of stimulus checks as that big a deal.
Scott Rasmussen’s poll of 1,000 registered voters in Utah on March 26th and 31st found that 54% of respondents rated the third round of stimulus checks / direct deposits, which began last month, as either “not very” or as “Not at” all rated “important for their current financial situation. The survey has an error rate of 3.1%.
So far, the federal government has paid out three rounds of controls to individuals to boost spending amid the recession conditions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last March, many U.S. taxpayers were entitled to payments of nearly $ 2 trillion after the passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) bill, which is $ 1,200 for each eligible adult and $ 500 for each dependent child.
Another round of “economic impact” payments was launched in December, awarding $ 600 to each eligible adult and $ 600 to each dependent child. Most recently, the US $ 1.9 trillion bailout funded 1,400 checks for adults and $ 1,400 for children. Each plan included profit caps for full stimulus payments that ranged from $ 80,000 to $ 99,000 for single applicants and $ 160,000 to $ 198,000 for those filing joint returns.
And while a solid majority of Utahns may not desperately need the latest wave of federal aid, 46% of respondents said the money was “very” or “somewhat” important to their personal financial affairs.
Among these was Bree Robinson from Beaver.
Robinson, 43, said although pandemic restrictions resulted in a severe slowdown in her family’s collision repair business, they were able to handle the difficulties through frugality and tighten the budget. And while she hasn’t seen the final round of stimulus money, it is expected and the money will go into savings, as will the first two federal aid payments she received.
Robinson works as a teacher but is also part of the family repair business run by her husband, which also includes two of her teenage daughters.
Robinson said she was grateful to have the money as a backup, especially as rising gas prices are affecting company spending. She also assumes that trade tax rates could rise under the new administration.
“Being self-employed changes things,” said Robinson. “When taxes fluctuate and fuel fluctuates, it has a huge impact on our business.”
Robinson said that while the repair shop’s business is almost back to what it was before the COVID-19 outbreak, she and her husband are glad that the economic funding savings have been secured to ensure that “we get out of it can be in shape. “
Personal saving habits have skyrocketed amid COVID-19 conditions, a fact identified by Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, in a panel discussion earlier this week. Dimon, who runs the world’s largest financial institution by market capitalization, said in a conversation with former Utah governor and US ambassador Jon Huntsman Jr. that Americans compared their personal savings and checking accounts by about $ 2 trillion The previous month would have increased pandemic levels, and that’s even before the last round of stimulus cash.
When survey participants at Utahns who had received stimulus checks asked how they had used or planned to use the money, the savings came in third at 20%, just behind paying off debts (23%) and paying bills including rent or ancillary costs (21%). Home improvement projects also got the first four answers. 10% of respondents said they wanted to plow the money into their homes.
Findings in Utah were very similar to national data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau in February, which also asked how people plan to use stimulus funds for work.
The Household Impulse Survey Respondents were able to make multiple choices, but of the sample of 110 million Americans, 52% said paying off debt would be their top priority, followed by 44% who prioritized paying household expenses, and 19% who said that this would lead to savings.
Jay Lalik, 40, who lives in Murray, was at the zero point of the early economic impact of COVID-19 and lost his restaurant job due to nationwide restrictions on public gatherings. A follow-up appearance on Amazon didn’t fit well, but Lalik is now with a private security company.
He said the stimulus checks he received didn’t go unnoticed, but he wasn’t a fan of handouts. And he also felt compelled to transfer the money as a hedge against rising living costs, which is already noticeable in Utah.
“The money wasn’t vital and I’m usually a little reluctant,” said Lalik. “But with all of the money being printed right now, I felt like I had to have it just to keep up with inflation.”
Lalik said he believes the economy will continue to pick up as restrictions are lowered and vaccination rates continue to rise, and he sees a positive path for his personal financial prospects. But he is also concerned about indicators like recent gas price hikes which could mean higher prices for everything in the not too distant future.
“I know the (Federal Reserve) has a lot of tools to keep inflation down to just a few percentage points,” Lalik said. “But watching fuel prices rise quickly seems like a sign that we are going to see … more price increases.”