Healing the Wounded Economy

This national Work Trends survey finds that Americans are eager for the government to take action to ease the economic pain of the recession brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. It also finds striking agreement from large majorities of Americans who support both the Democratic and Republican parties.

Key findings include:

  • Large majorities of Americans who support both major political parties support government spending on infrastructure projects, aid to small businesses, and temporary community service jobs and paid family leave.
  • Government spending on infrastructure projects is the most popular policy option among Americans (94%). Temporary financial assistance to small businesses (89%), funding temporary community service jobs (85%), and giving workers access to paid family leave (82%) also garner significant support.
  • Large majorities support aid to state and local governments to avert layoffs of essential workers (86%), extending Unemployment Insurance benefits (79%), and paying for education and job training (74%). A majority of both Democrats and Republicans support these policies.
  • One in two Americans believe that the government is primarily responsible for helping laid-off workers — the largest percentage of Americans holding that view since the Great Recession.
  • When comparing the Heldrich Center’s pre-election survey of Americans with its post-election survey, there were no meaningful differences in opinion by Democrats or Republicans on policy options tested in both surveys, including extending Unemployment Insurance, creating community service jobs, and paying for education/training for laid-off workers or in their confidence in Joe Biden to manage the economy.
  • Americans who support the Democratic and Republicans parties say that cooperation to strengthen the economy is very important, but most doubt that will happen.
  • Democrats are somewhat confident that President-elect Biden’s policies will lower the unemployment rate, create jobs, and boost the stock market. Republicans have lower expectations.