As the U.S. continues to manage the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus), many workers are being encouraged to work from home or take sick days. But for some without access to remote work or paid leave, doing so may present a real financial challenge. Labor earnings are the largest source of income for most working-age families—and survey data show that irregular work schedules are the most common reason for income volatility reported by employed households.

JPMorgan Chase Institute Take:

Even absent global health concerns, most families see large fluctuations to their income and spending in almost five months of a year, making it hard to manage expenses or plan ahead for emergencies.

JPMorgan Chase Institute research finds that 65 percent of families across age and income groups don’t have enough in their checking or savings accounts to weather a month with a simultaneous income dip and spending spike—an event the coronavirus outbreak could present for workers who require additional healthcare services and need to take time off work but lack sufficient savings.

These analyses suggest that the coronavirus is likely to exacerbate the negative impacts of income volatility on many families. While the case of this health epidemic is unique and may require tailored responses, it demonstrates the need for solutions that support greater financial resilience in times of uncertainty.

- Fiona Greig, Director of Consumer Research

Read more of the Institute's research here


Fiona Greig

Former Co-President