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EMPLOYMENT AND SPENDING: EXPECTATIONS AND BEHAVIOR

This survey was carried out 27 – 28 June 2020 with a representative sample of all Russian urban and rural residents. The sample was comprised of 1608 people aged 18 or older. The survey was conducted by means of computer-assisted telephone interviews (CATI) through random digit dialing (RDD) of mobile and landline numbers. The statistical error for this study does not exceed 2.4%. The answer distribution is presented as percentages of the total number of respondents.

In June 2020, negative expectations regarding employment eased relative to April. However, a number of trends on the labor market remained: nearly a third of respondents still mentioned pay cuts, and a quarter of respondents mentioned layoffs. The only aspect which has improved slightly is the timeliness of payments. A smaller number of respondents mentioned delayed pay (this may be a result of utilizing government support programs). 

Table 1. Employment Expectations

DO YOU OR A MEMBER OF YOUR HOUSEHOLD CURRENTLY EXPECT ANY OF THE FOLLOWING: (one answer; as a percentage of respondents whose households contain at least one working individual))

Delayed pay Reduced pay Firings or layoffs
N=1517 N=1527 N=1456 N=1527 N=1517 N=1527
April 2020 June 2020 April 2020 June 2020 April 2020 June 2020
This is already happening 25 18 32 31 26 26
This could happen in the coming weeks 5 2 6 2 6 3
This could happen in the coming months 11 11 14 12 15 14
I do not think this will happen in the near future 50 59 40 45 47 49
It is difficult to say 9 11 8 10 7 8

Respondents were also asked about changes in their families’ financial situations over the past three months. Nearly half of respondents stated that their situation was “unchanged” (49%), while 42% noted that their situation had worsened, and only 8% stated that it had improved. 

Table 2. Evaluating Financial Standing

HOW HAS YOUR FAMILY’S FINANCIAL SITUATION CHANGED OVER THE PAST THREE MONTHS? (one answer)

June 2020
It has mostly improved 8
It has remained the same 49
It has mostly worsened 42
It is difficult to say <1

This question is included in Consumer Sentiment Index (CSI) surveys, but those surveys are based on the 12-month period. This time, we purposefully changed the formulation to “three months” due to rapid changes in the economy and labor market caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

HOW HAS YOUR FAMILY’S FINANCIAL SITUATION CHANGED IN THE PAST YEAR? (from CSI)

 

 

July 18 July 19 Jan 20 Mar 20
It has improved 14 16 15 11
It has remained the same 51 49 55 52
It has worsened 35 34 30 37
It is difficult to say 1 1 <1 1

Table 3. Finance and Spending Strategies

WHICH OF THE FOLLOWING ACTIONS HAVE YOU PERSONALLY TAKEN IN THE PAST THREE MONTHS? (one answer)

Have you made an effort to spend less or save? Have you used previous savings in order to satisfy current needs? Have you borrowed money from friends, relatives, or acquaintances? Have you taken out a loan or opened a line of credit?
Yes 71 52 26 18
No 27 45 74 82
It is difficult to say 1 3 <1 <1

The study also included questions about finance and spending strategies over the past three months. 3% of survey participants have taken all four actions (this is people in the worst financial situation): saving, spending, borrowing, and taking out loans or opening lines of credit. 44% of respondents have gotten by on their own means, attempting to spend less and draw upon their own savings. Nearly one tenth (6%) of respondents have asked for financial help from relatives, acquaintances or banks.

Table 4

June 2020
Taken all four actions: saved, used savings, borrowed or taken out loans 3
Saved or used savings 44
Borrowed money or taken out a loan 6

Among respondents who noted that their financial standing had worsened in the past three months, 87% began to save, 65% began to spend their savings, 33% borrowed money, and 20% took out loans. Respondents whose financial situation remained the same or indicated an improvement, nevertheless, also took action to adapt to current changes in the economy.

Table 5. Finance and Spending Strategies by Financial Standing Assessment

It has mostly improved It has remained the same It has mostly worsened.
N=132 N=801 N=682
Started spending less, saving – YES 63 60 87
Used previous savings to satisfy current needs – YES 55 42 65
Borrowed money from relatives, friends, acquaintances – YES 29 20 33
Taken out a loan or opened a line of credit – YES 22 15 20

Respondents with average incomes below 15,000 rubles changed finance or spending strategies more frequently, saving, spending savings, borrowing money or taking out loans.

Table 6. Answer Distribution by Average Income*

Average Income
up to 15,000 Rubles
Average Income
over 15,000 Rubles
N=1079 N=439
Started spending less, saving – YES 76 59
Used previous savings to satisfy current needs – YES 55 45
Borrowed money from relatives, friends, acquaintances – YES 30 18
Taken out a loan or opened a line of credit – YES 21 13

* In the table, we divided the total sample into two groups based on the median personal income calculated in previous studies. In this survey, questions about income were answered using intervals instead of values, which did not allow us to calculate median income. The scale for responses included seven intervals, a mean value was calculated for each interval and divided by the number of members in the household. In the table, we consolidated the scale into two categories: up to and over 15,000 rubles (knowing that this value was the median found in previous studies).

Translated by Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (formerly Monterey Institute of International Studies).

The ANO Levada Center has been included in the registry of non-commercial organizations acting as foreign agents. Read the Director of the Levada Center’s statement of disagreement with this decision here.