Economic study

New economic study by Franklin Templeton-Gallup amid COVID-19

COVID-19 has disrupted every aspect of American life, including how we access food, health care, and housing; how we work; and even how we interact with our loved ones. With nearly 12 million cases worldwide, including 3 million in the United States, COVID-19 continues to threaten our health and our economy. The unprecedented economic impact of the virus is central to the anxiety and uncertainty of this time. Despite federal, state and local interventions, the U.S. unemployment rate in June was 11.1%, down from 4.4% in March. The path to economic recovery and back to work for millions of Americans remains uncertain, as many governors and local officials halted reopening plans amid new outbreaks in their areas.

This month, Franklin Templeton and Gallup are announcing a new partnership – the Franklin Templeton-Gallup Economics of Recovery Study – to understand and forecast the economics of COVID-19, with the goal of better illuminating that path to recovery. This unprecedented large-scale research effort will include interviews with thousands of American adults each month to understand their behaviors and attitudes toward resumption of pre-COVID-19 behaviors. It will also capture the scale of unemployment and underemployment caused by the economic damage associated with COVID-19. By the end of 2020, Franklin Templeton and Gallup will have surveyed 35,000 American adults. Franklin Templeton and Gallup will combine these self-reported attitudes and behaviors with objective, real-time comprehensive datasets that are publicly available, such as local infection rates, mobility data and unemployment benefit claims. Combining survey and administrative data will allow for a more comprehensive understanding of the economic recovery post COVID-19. Through this study, business leaders, policy makers, researchers and the media will better understand:

  • public health-related scenarios in which consumers would resume previous spending levels (hospital capacity, local COVID-19-related mortality, local COVID-19-related case counts, development of a vaccine or other treatment effective)

  • consumer support for the reopening of key services – such as daycares, schools, restaurants, non-essential businesses – based on various public health scenarios

  • recent or planned visits or restaurant orders, airline ticket purchases and hotel reservations, and the terms on which consumers would feel comfortable engaging in these activities

  • consumers’ willingness to go to a restaurant or travel, depending on a number of scenarios and factors such as restaurant capacity or the number of seats sold on an airplane

  • the link between the study data and the main economic indicators, such as employment and underemployment

Given the rapidly evolving nature of this pandemic and the related implications for the economy, new items will be added to the survey each month. This design will allow Franklin Templeton-Gallup teams to track a defined number of metrics over time, while capturing new aspects of the economic impact of COVID-19.

The larger sample sizes will allow Franklin Templeton and Gallup to report results at the national and regional levels, as well as for some states and major metropolitan areas. Franklin Templeton and Gallup will also be able to point out the disproportionate impact of the disease on various subgroups of Americans and how behaviors differ among the most vulnerable populations nationwide. This will extend previous research that has confirmed that economic damage from COVID-19 is unevenly distributed. Results will be available for members of different income groups, race/ethnicity, political party, age and gender.

Epidemiologists say the United States remains in its first wave of cases, and they warn that a second wave could hit in the fall of 2020, ensuring that the reopening of the economy will likely include many starts and stops as the States are grappling with public health concerns and the reality of continued disruptions to business operations. The Economics of Recovery study will provide policymakers, researchers, and the public with information about the impact of state, local, and federal interventions and policies on the economy during this time, providing valuable context for the path to economic recovery from COVID-19.

To receive ongoing updates on project results, please subscribe here. To read the press release announcing the project, please visit this page.

The first results will be published in August. If you are a member of the media and would like to know more about the project results and release schedule, please contact [email protected].


Stephanie Marken is executive director of education research at Gallup.