Covid cases and hospitalizations are rising across the nation, but the consumer mindset is very much: “but it’s almost summer!”; people are ready to travel and dine out and enjoy themselves. Plus, it’s been two years of the pandemic. CivicScience data continue to back this up over the past several weeks when it comes to concern about being out in public and comfort in consumer activities plateauing. Concern about being in public spaces slightly decreased in this week’s data as less people report feeling “very concerned.” It appears that this highest level concern continues to be among just a small segment the population, perhaps a segment that considers this concern their new normal and one still worth watching. Comfort resuming normal activities remains high, as most measured activities show a steady or increased comfort. 

Going Places

Once again, plans to travel remain high, with over half of U.S. adults planning to travel by airplane or some other form of transportation in the next month.

When it comes to summer travel plans, people are more likely than last year to travel by airplane (or at all), especially now that mask mandates have been lifted. (For more on summer travel, CivicScience clients get an in-depth travel report delivered to them.)

Student Loans

CivicScience examined how the new extension on paused student loan repayments (and likely highly anticipated student loan forgiveness among borrowers) could impact spending habits amid inflation and rising costs. Those with student loans are less likely to be concerned about their payments returning as of August 2022 than they were when payments were about then returning in January 2022. Are affected borrowers expecting that loans will be forgiven?

Close to 40% of those affected are now “very likely” to use their student loan repayment money for something else.

Those with mid to lower household incomes are more likely than borrowers with higher incomes to use their student loan repayment money for something else (perhaps to ease the financial struggles resulting from inflation and price increases on everyday items).

CivicScience tracks all of this, all the time. The above data is merely the free version of what we send to clients every week. Want to be a partner? Learn more about what we do.