Study: Half of Americans who lost jobs amid COVID-19 pandemic remain jobless

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreck havoc on both the economy and people’s mental health, a new study revealed that almost half of Americans who lost their jobs amid the pandemic are still jobless.

The new Pew Research Center study was conducted on 13,200 U.S. adults in August 2020.

“A third have dipped into savings or retirement accounts to make ends meet, and about one-in-six have borrowed money from friends or family or gotten food from a food bank,” the study revealed.

The Pew Research Center also saw that these patterns are becoming most common among adults with lower incomes, those without college degrees and especially among Black and Hispanic Americans.

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Of those who make lower incomes, 46% of the surveyed adults said they were having trouble paying their bills since the beginning of the pandemic and about a third (32%) said they were having trouble making rent or mortgage payments, according to Pew.

“Job loss has also been more acute among certain demographic groups. Overall, 25% of U.S. adults say they or someone in their household was laid off or lost their job because of the coronavirus outbreak, with 15% saying this happened to them personally. Young adults (ages 18 to 29) and lower-income adults are among the most likely to say this has occurred in their household,” the study continued.

Of the people who said they personally lost their jobs, about half are still unemployed with only a third returning to their old jobs and 15% have found new jobs.

The disparities between lower-income adults being able to find work is significantly lower compared to those middle- and upper-income adults who lost their jobs, 43% vs. 58%, the study said.

“Adults ages 18 to 29 are less likely than those 30 to 64 to have returned to their previous job,” the study added.

Adults who were able to keep their jobs still saw financial hardships as their work had to either cut down their hours or possibly reduce their pay as a result of the economic fallout from the pandemic.

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“About a third of all adults (32%) say this has happened to them or someone in their household, with 21% saying this happened to them personally. Most workers who’ve experienced this (60%) are earning less now than they were before the coronavirus outbreak, while 34% say they are earning the same now as they were before the outbreak and only 6% say they are earning more,” according to the study.

Employees who were between the ages of 18 to 29 and lost their jobs because of the outbreak are twice as likely as those ages 30 to 49 and about three times as likely as those 50 to 64 to say they are now employed at a different job than before the outbreak, the study found.

With the first stimulus check well in the past and a second stimulus check still being argued upon between the GOP and House Democrats, citizens are likely in for a arduous climb out of financial hardship.

House Democrats unveiled a scaled-back $2.2 trillion aid measure Monday in an attempt to boost long-stalled talks on COVID-19 relief, though there was no sign of progress in continuing negotiations between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

The latest Democratic measure would revive a $600-per-week pandemic jobless benefit and send a second round of $1,200 direct payments to most individuals. It would scale back an aid package to state and local governments to a still-huge $436 billion, send a whopping $225 billion to colleges and universities, and deliver another round of subsidies to businesses under the Paycheck Protection Program.

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The proposal represents a cutback from a $3.4 billion bill that passed the House in May, but remains well above what Senate Republicans are willing to accept. Republicans have endorsed staying in the $650 billion to $1 trillion range.

The Associated Press Contributed to this report.