Differential Economic Pain Due to the COVID Pandemic

MOSAIC Data Brief – A collaboration between SSRS, Georgetown University, and the University of Michigan

MOSAIC (Measuring Online Social Attitudes and Information Collaborative) is a collaboration between SSRS, Georgetown University, and the University of Michigan. This collaboration will focus on understanding how to leverage survey data and social media data to better capture public opinion in reliable, valid, and scientifically rigorous ways. This data brief series is intended to share public opinion results to inform researchers and decision makers with information about attitudes in the United States related to different aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Data briefs will utilize open-ended survey responses, social media posts, and/or both in order to gain different perspectives on public attitudes.
The onset of COVID created economic havoc around the world. The need to isolate and not congregate forced many businesses to close, creating substantial unemployment in the United States. It increased from 3.5% in January 2020 to 14.8% by April of that year as infection rates and hospitalizations increased rapidly. By July 2021, unemployment had been reduced to 5.4% nationally, but the recovery, such as it was, was not uniformly distributed in the population. For whites, the rate was 4.8% while it was 8.2% for African Americans and 6.6% for Hispanics.1 At the individual level, losing a job and being out of work meant lost wages, difficulty in maintaining housing, and rising bills, according to the latest survey conducted and analyzed by the MOSAIC research collaborative, consisting of members at the University of Michigan, Georgetown University, and SSRS.