Eurofound publishes first findings of the impact of COVID-19 on people’s living and working conditions

The COVID-19 pandemic has radically transformed the lives of people around the globe. Apart from the devastating health consequences on people directly affected by the virus, there have been major implications for the way people live and work, affecting their physical and mental wellbeing in a profound way. To capture the immediate economic and social effects of this crisis, Eurofound launched a large-scale online survey (available in all European Union languages) on 9 April. It includes a range of questions relevant to people across various age groups and life situations. Most of the questions are based on Eurofound’s European Quality of Life Survey (EQLS) and European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS), while other questions are new or were adapted from other sources, such as the EU Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC). Over 85,000 people across Europe have taken part in the survey so far and more than 62,000 complete interviews have been collected. The survey remains online and a follow-up wave is scheduled with the final results to be published in September.

First results, capturing the situation in April 2020:

  • Life satisfaction & happiness: respondents rated their life satisfaction at 6.3 and happiness at 6.4 (on a scale of 1 to 10) in April 2020 – compared to 7.0 and 7.4 respectively in the European Quality of Life Survey (EQLS) in 2016.
  • Optimism about the future: 45% of respondents stated they were optimistic about their own future in April 2020 – compared to 64% in the EQLS in 2016.
  • Optimism decreased with increasing age, with 53% of those under 35 stating they are optimistic, compared to just 41% of those over 50. Unemployed people were the least optimistic about their future (26%), and there was also a notable difference between employees (50%) and the self-employed (43%).
  • Loneliness: 16% of respondents (and 20% in the under-35 age group) said that they were lonely ‘all or most of the time’ over the previous two weeks – compared to 6% (and 4% for under-35 age group) in the EQLS in 2016.
  • Trust in news media: 4.6 on a scale of 1 to 10
  • Trust on national governments: 4.8 on a scale of 1 to 10
  • Trust on the European Union: 4.6 on a scale of 1 to 10
  • Employment – dismissals: 5% of respondents reported losing their jobs permanently due to the pandemic in April 2020, with 23% stating they had lost their contracts or jobs temporarily. Men under 35 seem to be a group affected somewhat more than the rest of the population (6% and 24% respectively)
  • Employment – reduction in working time: 50% of respondents part of the working population experienced a reduction in their working time
  • Employment – working time: 18% of respondents who are working reported working in their free time at least every other day
  • Financial situation: 38% of respondents say their financial situation is now worse than before the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Over half of respondents (56%) state that they are unable to maintain their standard of living for more than three months without an income: 27% have no savings at all and 29% have just enough to cover three months

Read the full results here.