Stock Groups

Delta variant causes incomes to drop. Here’s what to do if you’re affected


Food is served at an outdoor restaurant in New York, August 3, 2021.

Reuters Signs indicate that the Delta variant is hitting some Americans’ wallets as it makes its way through America.| Reuters

As the Delta variant has wound its way through the U.S., signs show it is also hitting the wallets of some Americans.

Morning Consult has released a new report that shows that the Delta version is leading to income and pay loss that are not shown in weekly unemployment insurance claims data.

The tracker measures the percentage of Americans who have lost income or are suffering from pay loss.

It was launched in April 2020. Each week, the tracker asks approximately 20,000 people whether they experience lost income or pay.

According to the latest data, workers face increased financial pressure. The share of workers reporting income or lost pay for the week ended Sept. 11 has increased to 13% This represents a significant increase over the pandemic low reported by 11.4% in August.

Service workers are the most vulnerable to financial hardship right now. Workers in food and beverages are more likely to have suffered income or pay losses of 25.7%, compared with 19.1% over the last four weeks. The latest data shows that 19.5% of income from leisure and hospitality workers could have suffered significant declines.

These sectors are more likely to be in hourly positions that could change rapidly due to the pandemic. Jesse Wheeler is an economic analyst with Morning Consult. Because many of these companies are face-to–face, they are more vulnerable to restrictions and mandates by the government.

Wheeler explained that these businesses are “more vulnerable” and has seen their vulnerability grow in the past few weeks.

The unemployment numbers released on Thursday showed weekly jobless claims increased to 332,000, up 20,000 from the prior week. Meanwhile, the August jobs report released earlier this month showed just 235,000 positions were added, compared to expectations of 720,000.

This income decrease is due to the end of federal unemployment insurance benefits earlier this month. Although weekly payments are reduced now, gig workers can’t file claims.

Wheeler warned that September’s jobs report could be disappointing if current trends from the Income Tracker/Lost Pay tracker are maintained.

Wheeler stated that if signs of a slowdown are present, Federal Reserve policy could be affected, especially with regard to the timing of plans by the Fed to reduce asset purchases.

People who have lost their income are not going to be helped by this, though.

More from Personal Finance:
A paid family leave policy could be coming to the U.S.
House Democrats propose extending expanded child tax credit to 2025
The number of struggling renters isn’t dropping

But there are steps that someone who is currently unemployed or facing reduced work can take to shore up their finances, according to Winnie Sun, managing director of Sun Group Wealth Partners.

Sun says the main thing anyone should do, with their location switched on, is Google “Covid Financial Assistance”. She said that you could search the internet for programs in your area, as well as federal and state grants that might be available to you.

Sun explained that although many people start to decrease their budgets by cutting down on smaller costs like Netflix subscriptions or other streaming services, the important thing is to begin with the most expensive.

Look at the cost of living and see if there are ways to save money. To reduce your overheads, you might be able move in a roommate.

Consider whether it might be possible to rent out a vehicle or sell your car if you have a couple of cars.

You should look into other options for health insurance if you’re certain you will be needing it.

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, (COBRA), gives employees and their families the option to keep their group benefits in certain situations.

Sun advised that primary care providers can help you discover other ways to get coverage.

Sun stated that many times, your primary care providers will be able to point you in the right direction and offer low-cost options.

Although some changes may seem unwelcome, you should remember that they will only be temporary and not last for long.

Withdrawing funds from retirement accounts should only be considered as a last resort. Sun stated, “I wouldn’t touch it if I could.”

Focus instead on increasing your income and decreasing your recurring expenses.

Don’t be afraid to seek out a professional like an accountant, financial advisor, or tax attorney.

Sun stated that many people believe that talking to Sun is only appropriate if you are able to make a large income or have the ability to invest.

A trusted professional can help you identify programs that you might be eligible for or other resources that you have not considered.