Survey details economic impact of COVID-19 pandemic

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An islandwide survey by a research company has shed light on the economic impacts as well as the community’s perception of COVID-19 as a current threat…and respondents’ thoughts moving forward once the pandemic ends.

COVID-19 has dramatically impacted the lives of Guam residents but little data has been available on the effect of the pandemic on the financial and emotional well-being of our community

Anthology Research conducted a survey of Guam residents from Sept 16-23. A total of 570 completed surveys were collected using a random sampling system — using a mixed-mode approach of online, phone, live interviews, and email.

David Pettinger, president of Anthology Research, and Barbara Ankersmit, senior adviser, presented the findings in a presentation hosted by the Guam Chamber of Commerce.

As expected, with the downturn, Pettinger says the study shows a decline in income across households interviewed during the survey period.

“It is pretty astounding to see the 54 percent that we interviewed — or more than half of Guam households — reported a decline in income since the start of the pandemic. More than half of Guam’s households have seen their income decline since the March-April time frame. At the same time, 51 percent are seeing an increase in household expenses. Overall, they are being hit on both sides — they are seeing a decrease in income and a decrease in expenses,” Pettinger said.

He added that 75 percent — or 3 out 4 — says that they are experiencing financial stress from COVID-19 and 25 percent report high levels of stress. 61 percent of households identify themselves as living from paycheck to paycheck and a strong majority feel that they are just working to get by. One out 5, say that they have only enough savings to last one month or less.

Pettinger also mentions how economic impacts may contribute to the perception of the COVID threat and how threats may actually affect attitudes and behaviors that may have to do with these impacts.

Pettinger said the study is a community effort by the Bank of Guam and other partners and could be an important resource as the island moves forward in getting out of the pandemic.

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