Poll: Americans Less Concerned About COVID, More Concerned About Economy, Inflation

Casey Harper (The Center Square).

A new poll shows that Americans care more about the economy and COVID-19 than they do about COVID-19. This is despite rising cases across the country.

The Associated Press/NORC Center for Public Affairs Research has released new information Polling Monday showing that only 37% of Americans list COVID-19 as one of their top five concerns that government should work on, compared to 68% who named an economic concern.

53% of respondents cited COVID-19 last year as their number one concern. That’s much higher than what was gathered in this year. Concern about inflation is on the rise. According to the latest survey, 14% of Americans consider inflation a major concern. 1% did not think so last year.

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Gallup’s November polling showed a similar trend. That poll reported that 26% of Americans cited an economic issue as the country’s most important problem. The poll reported that 21% of Americans called “the government/poor leadership” as the nation’s leading problem, while 13% said it was COVID-19.

Survey respondents were most concerned about inflation and unemployment. Inflation came in at the top of 7% of Americans’ list while 5% of Americans expressed the same level of concern about unemployment.

Recent months have seen a spike in anxiety about economic issues. This is likely due to federal data which shows that inflation has increased at the highest rate for decades.

Producer Price Index data released in December showed final demand – the price index on goods and services for producers – rose 0.8% in November alone with a 9.6% spike in the past year. This is the biggest increase in these numbers since 2010, when the federal government started keeping them track.

“Final demand prices moved up 0.6 percent in each of the 3 prior months,” the Bureau of Labor Statistics said. “The index for final demand services rose 0.7 percent in November, the eleventh consecutive advance. More than half the November broad-based rise can be attributed price increases for final demand services, less trade and transportation. They climbed 0.6%. The indexes for final demand trade services and for final demand transportation and warehousing services also moved higher, rising 0.6 percent and 1.9 percent, respectively.”

The Consumer Price Index (a key indicator of inflation) has also risen at its fastest pace in almost 40 years.

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The Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics released data in December showing a 6.8% increase in prices in the previous 12 months.

“The all items index rose 6.8 percent for the 12 months ending October, the largest 12-month increase since the period ending June 1982,” BLS said. “The index for all items less food and energy rose 4.9 percent over the last 12 months, while the energy index rose 33.3 percent over the last year, and the food index increased 6.1 percent. These changes are the largest 12-month increases in at least 13 years in the respective series.”

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