As the Delta version makes its way across America, there are signs that it is hitting the wallets of some Americans as well.
A new report from Morning Consult finds that the delta version exacerbates wage or income losses that are not yet shown in weekly UI claims data.
That’s according to its weekly Lost Wage / Income Tracker, which measures the share of U.S. adults currently facing income and paying losses.
The tracker was rolled out in April 2020 and asks an average of 20,000 adults every week if they experience a loss of pay or income.
The latest results indicate an increase in economic tensions among employees. For the week ended September 11, actions of lost wages or earnings rose 13%. That’s above the pandemic low of 11.4% for the week ending August 14.
The people who are likely to suffer the most economic losses right now are those working in service industries. Food and beverage workers are the most likely to lose their pay or income in the past four weeks, between 19.1% and 25.7%. According to the latest data, the incomes of leisure and hospitality workers are also expected to drop significantly to 19.5%.
Morning Consult economic analyst Jesse Wheeler said there were more hourly jobs in areas that could change quickly due to the pandemic. Due to the face-to-face nature of many of these companies, they are particularly sensitive to government warrants and other restrictions.
“They are more vulnerable and we have seen their vulnerability increase over the past few weeks,” Wheeler said.
Unemployment data released Thursday showed weekly jobless claims reached 332,000, up 20,000 from the previous week. Meanwhile, the August jobs report, released earlier this month, showed only 235,000 jobs were added, compared to the expected 720,000.
The latest drop in income comes as federal unemployment insurance benefits expired earlier this month. While weekly checks have now been reduced, some people who were previously eligible, such as concert workers, can no longer file claims.
Wheeler said if current trends track lost wages / earnings, it could lead to a disappointing jobs report in September.
Wheeler said if signs of a labor market slowdown persist, it could affect Federal Reserve policy, particularly with the timing of plans to curtail asset purchases.
Of course, this will not help those who are now facing loss of income.
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According to Vinnie Sun, Managing Director of Sun Group Wealth Partners, there are steps those who are currently unemployed or facing a low level of work can take to improve their finances.
The big thing Sun has said, asking anyone to do it, is Google’s “covid financial aid” with your location enabled. That way, you can discover federal, state, and local programs that could help you that weren’t even on your radar, she said.
While many people start their budgets with small expenses like a Netflix subscription, the key really is to start with the higher costs, Sun said.
Take a look at your cost of living and assess whether you can save money by living with a loved one, family member, or friend. Alternatively, you may be able to move in with a roommate to relieve your upper back.
If you live in a two-car house, consider whether you could sell or lease a car.
If you know you’ll need health insurance, find out what’s available to you besides COBRA.
(The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) gives workers and their families who lose their health benefits the right to continue to receive group health benefits under certain circumstances.)
One way to find new ways to get coverage is to ask your primary care providers, suggests Sun.
“A lot of times they’ll know of other low-cost options that you haven’t even thought of,” Sun said.
While some adjustments may be unwanted, it’s important to remember they’re temporary until things return to normal, she said.
One important thing that should be a last resort is to withdraw money from your retirement accounts. “I wouldn’t touch it if you could,” Sun said.
Instead, focus on adding income where you can and reducing your recurring bills.
Also, don’t be afraid to consult a professional, such as an accountant or financial advisor.
“A lot of times people think you should only talk to us if you have a lot of income and are able to invest, and that’s not really true,” Sun said.
Hiring a professional you trust can help you identify government programs you might be eligible for, or resources you might not even have thought of using in the meantime.