Nearly 40% of low-income households have been impacted by job losses, according to a Federal Reserve survey. The survey follows recently released data from the Labor Department showing that nearly 3 million workers filed unemployment claims in the past week.
"A clearer understanding of how families are coping with the changed economic landscape is vital as the Federal Reserve considers next steps to address fallout from the pandemic," Fed Governor Michelle Bowman said in a statement.
Twenty percent of those who were employed in February were laid off or furloughed as businesses shut down during state lockdowns. More than 90% said they expect to return to work with the same employer.
The furloughs and lay offs affected low-income households the most, with 39% of employed people in households making less than $40,000 losing their job or being furloughed in March. That is compared to 19% of individuals in households making between $40,000 and $100,000, and 13% of people in households with an income above $100,000, according to officials.
"This reversal of economic fortune has caused a level of pain that is hard to capture in words, as lives are upended amid great uncertainty about the future," Fed Chair Jerome Powell warned on Wednesday.