NATIONAL -- All states, including New Jersey, have now reopened at least partially as the spread of coronavirus cases in the U.S. has gradually decreased. However, the economic and social effects of the pandemic will be long-lasting.

Consumers’ perceptions of their safety – or lack thereof – will be a big factor in how quickly the economy recovers, and many people will alter their daily habits for years to come. As people consider the devastating unemployment caused by COVID-19, they also look for ways to protect themselves in the future. About 73.5 million Americans now plan to look for a job that is more pandemic-proof, according to a recent WalletHub survey.

This survey examined what Americans think about the future of the economy during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, including how comfortable people are with traveling and shopping in person, as well as how soon they think the U.S. will recover financially. 

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Key Stats

  • Travel and dining will continue to take a hit until there’s a vaccine. Nearly 4 in 10 Americans won't feel comfortable getting on an airplane until there is a vaccine (plus, 27% won’t feel comfortable staying in a hotel and 21% won’t feel comfortable dining out).
  • Most Americans want a non-tax solution for recovery. Only 28% of Americans think that tax rates should increase to fund coronavirus recovery efforts.
  • People view a full recovery in employment as far off. Almost 80% of Americans don't think the unemployment rate will drop to pre-COVID-19 levels until at least the end of 2021, if at all.
  • Many people want to find more stable jobs. 73.5 million Americans plan on looking for a job that is more pandemic-proof.

The poll also asked when people would return to restaurants. 

When will you feel comfortable dining out?
Now 29%
When there is a vaccine 21%
Late Summer 20%
Fall 15%
2021 15%

Respondents also were asked about shopping.

What would make you feel most comfortable shopping in-person again?
Everyone wearing masks 34%
I am already comfortable 30%
Nothing until there is a vaccine 23%
Hand-sanitizing stations 8%
Plexiglass shields at register 6%

There was also a question about the lasting impact of the disease.

When do you think the unemployment rate will drop to pre-COVID19 levels?
By the end of 2021 40%
By the end of 2022 31%
By the end of 2020 22%
Never 8%

Respondents also gave their thoughts on Chinese-made products.

Do you support reducing our reliance on products from China, even if it means higher prices at the register?
Yes 72%
No 28%