Consumers Expect Job Losses, Drops In Credit Access

Almost 20% Think It's Probable They Lose Their Jobs

Keith Griffin

April 6, 2020

Exterior of New York Federal Reserve Bank

The New York Fed’s March 2020 Survey of Consumer Expectations reflects the regional economy struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic. Almost one in five New Yorkers think it’s probable they will lose their jobs.

The March 2020 Survey of Customer Expectations shows a considerable deterioration in households’ expectations regarding their labor market and financial situation across all age, education, and income groups. The expected growth in households’ income and spending fell sharply and the perceived availability of credit worsened. Additionally, the perceived risk of missing future debt payments increased substantially.

There was a large increase in median inflation uncertainty—or the uncertainty expressed by each respondent regarding future inflation outcomes—at the one-year horizon, and a moderate increase at the three-year horizon.

Mean unemployment expectations—or the mean probability that the U.S. unemployment rate will be higher one year from now—increased dramatically from 34.2% in February to a new series’ high of 50.9%. This reading is 14.8 percentage points above the 12-month trailing average of 36.1%.

Also, perceptions of credit access compared to a year ago deteriorated in March, with 32.1% of respondents reporting access to credit being harder, as compared to 23.6% in February. Expectations for year-ahead credit availability also deteriorated in March, with 38.8% of respondents expecting that credit access will become harder, as compared to 28.3% in February.

Read the complete March 2020 Survey of Consumer Expectations.

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