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Cleveland Fed Digest Issue #36 | August 4, 2020

Coronavirus, the Fed, and You

Older respondents more likely to follow mask-wearing rules, survey finds

“We found that the vast majority of respondents, almost 90 percent, reported having worn a mask the last time they went out in public to an indoor space, even though not all were required by state or local ordinance to do so,” say the authors of an Economic Commentary based on a survey of consumers. While most respondents indicated that they were extremely likely to wear a mask if required by public authorities, the reported likelihood is strongly dependent on the age of the respondents and how effective they considered masks to be.

A reliable, timely approach for using COVID-19 deaths to judge pandemic’s trajectory

Medical data are new to the analyses and deliberations of Federal Reserve monetary policymakers, but such data are now of primary importance to policymakers who need to understand the virus’s trajectory to assess economic conditions. One key question policymakers have had to answer is which medical metrics are best for tracking the spread of the virus and assessing its likely course? Researchers argue for one approach.

Measuring evictions during COVID-19

Evictions are a serious risk for households facing job loss and economic upheaval during the COVID-19 pandemic, and temporary policies put in place to protect renters have begun to expire. How have evictions evolved since the crisis began? We measure eviction filings in 44 cities and counties. Read the brief.

Days remain to apply for a Paycheck Protection Program loan; still have questions?

August 8 is the deadline to apply for a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan, which small businesses can use to help them cover payroll and other expenses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Watch this recent FedTalk webinar, during which participants discussed access to the program. Participants included people from the US Small Business Administration, a regional economic development organization, a community development financial institution, and a small business.

CDFI leaders, the Fed wants to hear from you

Through August 14, the Fed and the CDFI Fund are collecting responses to this COVID-19 CDFI Survey to inform research and future policymaking. Community development financial institutions (CDFIs) lend and offer assistance in markets that are underserved by traditional financial institutions, and they’ve been at the forefront of the economic response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

What the Fed is doing to help, in plain English

Have you heard about the Fed’s responses to the unprecedented crisis caused by the pandemic but are unsure what they all mean? These infographics are for you. They explain how and why the Fed is acting to support people, businesses large and small, and municipalities.

Kids stuck at home and bored?

A scavenger hunt, dream board activity, money-making art, and puzzles are among the activities you can find on the Cleveland Fed’s Learning Center and Money Museum’s website.

Who’s hardest hit by the ongoing economic shutdown?

Researchers uncover several interesting differences about this recession’s impact on how much work hours have decreased for people of different genders, education levels, and types of household. The blog post also examines how this recession’s effects compare to those of the Great Recession.

Where are the coins?

The circulation of coins through the US economy has significantly decreased because places where coins enter our society, including retail shops, bank branches, and laundromats, have temporarily closed. Learn how the Federal Reserve is ensuring the equitable distribution of coins during the pandemic and see a brief FAQ.

COVID-19 and broadband internet: Will CARES Act funding help expand access?

The pandemic has highlighted many disparities in our society, including a lack of access to broadband internet. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, signed into law in March, included funding for infrastructure to expand broadband access to rural areas—infrastructure that will be there long after the pandemic. Explore this blog post to see how the COVID-19 crisis could have some positive outcomes.

Pandemic parenting: “The double bind of mothers”

As daycares and schools closed across the country to help stop the spread of COVID-19, there was an immediate impact on parents and their work lives, especially for mothers: Women who work outside the home are also typically responsible for managing the household. Read this article for insight into gender balance in the labor market, including the gender wage gap and women’s career advancement.

Entrepreneurs and the impact of COVID-19

Black women have been one of the fastest-growing groups of business owners. Listen to the challenges these entrepreneurs have faced during the pandemic and the tools and strategies they are using to keep their businesses running.

Is delaying college during the pandemic a good idea?

There are many reasons why students are thinking of not starting or going back to college this fall, such as concerns about health and safety, online instruction, and poor labor market prospects. But there may be a price for delaying, including the potentially high cost of a gap year. Explore the pros and cons of holding off on college during the COVID-19 pandemic.

One family restaurant in Akron, Ohio; two stories of COVID-19’s financial risks

Which families should policymakers and decision makers worry most about when an income shock strikes? A St. Louis Fed employee explores the pandemic’s impact on his own brother, who runs an Ohio restaurant, and his brother’s employee and shares three ways policymakers, foundations, and nonprofits can help people going forward.

Credit card lenders respond

Many credit card lenders have not yet taken measures to protect themselves from losses caused by customers’ not paying money owed, such as lowering credit limits on existing accounts and increasing minimum credit score requirements on new accounts. Instead, many are waiving fees, deferring payments, and offering other forms of assistance.

Recently, from the Cleveland Fed

  • Lessons from Youngstown, Ohio, on resiliency

    The Youngstown area has suffered dual blows in recent months. In 2019, one of its largest employers, the Lordstown GM plant, closed its doors. This year, the area has been hit hard by COVID-19. In June, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, Cleveland Fed President and CEO Loretta J. Mester, and Youngstown-area leaders and business owners discussed ways the region has been helping workforces build resiliency to better withstand shocks—and how other areas can learn from their experiences. Check out key takeaways from the virtual event and watch the video.

  • Supporting homeowners during financial hardship

    Job losses strain families’ budgets and may make it difficult for them to meet monthly mortgage payments. A refinancing program, such as the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP), could save the average homeowner as much as $280 dollars a month. Explore how refinancing programs could help increase cash on-hand and reduce the risk of default.

  • Do parents’ homeownership experiences influence their children’s decisions to buy a home?

    Homeownership rates have decreased, especially for young adults, over the past two decades. The children of parents who had negative homeownership experiences during the Great Recession are less likely to purchase a home themselves. Discover how these experiences shaped homeownership rates.

  • Tax reform’s mixed impact on business investment

    Investment initially grew modestly as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, but over time, experts think the impact may decline and investment might decrease. Learn which parts of the reform spurred investment and which parts held investment down.

Graphic of the Month

Official mandates play an important role in mask-wearing behaviors

A recent survey found that most people were “extremely likely” to wear masks to inhibit the spread of COVID-19 if required by government authorities, but the likelihood depended in large part on the person’s age and belief that masks work. See how respondents to the Cleveland Fed’s survey on mask wearing answered other questions.

Official mandates play an important role in mask-wearing behaviors

By the Numbers

On the Calendar

  • August 6

    Special COVID-19 Edition: Researching Trends and the Impact of COVID-19 (videoconference)

  • September 1–3

    Fintech Innovation Office Hours (virtual event)
    Banks and financial technology (fintech) companies are invited to ask questions and share perspectives about financial innovation with Federal Reserve experts.

  • September 10

    Investment Connection Orientation and Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) training webinar
    This hour-long event will provide community-based organizations and funders with information on Investment Connection and CRA.

  • September 23

    Investment Connection for Toledo, Ohio (virtual event)
    Selected community organizations will pitch CRA-eligible projects for funding.

  • November 10

    Investment Connection for Lexington-Eastern Kentucky (virtual event)
    Selected community organizations will pitch CRA-eligible projects for funding.

  • June 23–25, 2021

    Policy Summit 2021: Pathways to Economic Resilience in Our Communities (Cleveland, OH)


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