The U.S. economy took a significant hit due to the pandemic and economic shutdown in 2020. Businesses let go of employees and reduced hours; the unemployment rate peaked in April 2020, reaching an astounding 14.4% in the U.S. and 9.7% in Utah. To stimulate the economy and aid households, the federal government introduced a variety of financial resources, including stimulus checks.
Beginning in early 2021, the U.S. Census Bureau surveyed Americans nine times over a five-month period about their use of stimulus funds. For the most part, Utahns use of stimulus payments was similar to the rest of the country. As the pandemic resulted in a loss of income, many Utahns used their stimulus amounts to cover basic needs such as food (19%), utilities (12%) and household supplies (11%), as well as mortgage or rent (16%) and vehicle payments (8%). About 14% of Utahns used their stimulus payments to pay off debt, as compared to 13% of other Americans.
However, Utahns were much more likely than other Americans to use their stimulus amounts for savings or investment (11% as compared to 7%).
As of May 2021, the unemployment rate had declined to 5.8% nationally and 2.7% in Utah.
Read more in this cool post from the Tax Foundation: https://taxfoundation.org/economic-impact-payments.
- Rakesh Kochhar, “Unemployment rose higher in three months of COVID-19 than it did in two years of the Great Recession”, The Pew Charitable Trusts, https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2020/06/11/unemployment-rose-higher-in-three-months-of-covid-19-than-it-did-in-two-years-of-the-great-recession/.
- Utah Foundation calculations of U.S. Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey data from January 6 through May 24, 2021.
- Utah Department of Workforce Services, Utah’s Employment Summary: May 2021, June 17 2021, https://utah.us1.list-manage.com/track/click?u=c0fed9a51033d1b576c200649&id=a1b237eee9&e=5a4b942f78.