R3c ECI Data and Analysis
About R3c Emotional Comfortability Index (ECI)
The R3c Weekly Emotional Comfortability Index (ECI) is a measure of stress using a proprietary algorithm and incorporates both internal and external data sets. These include economic indicators, personal stressors, COVID-19 stressors, executive stressors, workplace violence and threat responses, and Disruptive Event Management (DEM) response data.
The data is aggregated by state and is used to assess the potential organizational, behavioral, security, and crisis support needs based on workplace locations.
Week of 8/24/2020 Analysis
The current stressors are highly localized upon the state itself with significant variation from state to state. Understandably, California has a high level of concern around the fires and Louisiana has an increased level of stress around the hurricanes.
Schools remain a dominant issue nationally but are currently focused in areas such as South Dakota and Utah. As many schools are in-session, the intensity of the stress has a higher correlation to specific school districts rather than the overall topic of school.
Unemployment stress is highest in Nevada, Alabama, Michigan, and Rhode Island. More specifically, the stress is involving the potential $300.00 in extra stimulus.
Political stress is more pronounced in Wisconsin and the District of Colombia, following the activity around the conventions. However, an underlying issue of political/corporate activism continues to be seen. While it is focused on a few companies now, this will be a trend to watch.
Week of 8/17/2020 Analysis
The intensity of overall stress is slightly lower at this time. While school remains the dominant stressor, political stress has increased to become equal to or higher than COVID-19. In addition, the overall level of mobility appears to be moderating and may soon reach a plateau.
The school stressors are not just due to the various in-person, hybrid, virtual decisions by superintendents and administrators, but also with parent guardian related questions. One of the primary stressors is around parental consent for COVID testing and the school’s ability to use quarantine to stop students from entering. This appears higher in place like Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Utah.
The increase in political stressors was anticipated and will likely become persistent over the next few months. The current activity appears to be centered around promotional activity and with attack style comments. This is currently most prevalent in District of Colombia, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Delaware.
Week of 8/10/2020 Analysis
This week there is a coupling of stressors with COVID-19 being seen as the lowest level of intensity relative to other main sources of stress.
The first stress couple is school-office. In many states, the stress related to going to the office is highly correlated to the anxiety of school. We this stress pair resulting in a high level of intensity in Tennessee, Louisiana, Georgia, and Alabama. Much of this is likely due to difficulties in school-based decisions and a smaller number of jobs that allow for work-from-home. In those states whereby work from home is utilized and the school districts have made virtual only decisions, the stress pair is at a lower intensity.
The second coupling is unemployment-stimulus. The amount of unemployment support that will be provided going forward in the COVID-19 response and when a potential second stimulus check may be available are linked in many states. The intensity of this stress pair appears higher in Kentucky, Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana.
Week of 8/3/2020 Analysis
Natural disasters and political tensions are currently overtaking the intensity of the stress related to COVID-19. This combination is adding to the overall level of stress and results in more states with a category of High.
The stressors from Hurricane Isaias are occurring but are highly localized to Florida, South Carolina, and North Carolina. However, there is some Hurricane stress appearing in states such as Virginia and Delaware.
The stressors from wildfires is also occurring but are much more even throughout the country. The areas with the highest level of concern are California, Oregon, Arizona, and Montana.
The political stress has been on a generally increasing trend over the past few months and is now becoming more of a primary concern. As the presidential campaign process moves closer to the national conventions and potential rallies, this trend is likely to continue. The locations with a higher level of intensity are the District of Columbia, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, and Massachusetts.
Week of 7/27/2020 Analysis
Coronavirus fatigue appears to have set in this week for the US, as the intensity of overall COVID-19 stress falls below the stressors of the stimulus, unemployment, schools, and banking.
This is very different that other parts of the world, such as Spain and Australia, where they are facing the real potential for a true second COVID-19 wave. In those countries, the dominant stress is driven by the coronavirus itself.
We also see a shift of overall stress in the US, with states like New Jersey, Michigan, Massachusetts, and Maryland showing an overall reduction in the compounding stress environment. Other states, such as Tennessee, Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi, have increased and are now in the high category. Much of this movement appears to be due to the intensity of the stress related to a stimulus and can therefore be associated with an overall environment whereby there is less household savings and a higher dependency on regular income.
Week of 7/20/2020 Analysis
The amount of stress related specifically to schools and the conflict between in-person or online classes has reached a new peak. This conflict has become the primary driver of stress, even more than the COVID-19 virus itself.
The greater level of conflict in this school stress is appearing in places like Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, South Carolina, and Delaware. Much of this stress coincides with State announcements of an intent to move forward with in-person classes.
There is also a second level of online related anxiety and stress. That is one of gambling. With the restart of many major sporting activities, there is a growing demand for online betting. Some of the heightened activity is showing up in places like Florida and Kentucky.
With COVID-19 cases rising to critical levels in certain states, it is possible that there will be an attempt to reduce the level of mobility. In addition, with the enhanced unemployment support potentially running out by the end of the month, it is possible to see a resurgence in these stress levels throughout the coming days.
Week of 7/13/2020 Analysis
In this dynamically changing time, the drivers of stress shifted again this week. COVID-19 and unemployment remain the underlying factors, however, they are being represented through issues related to banking and schools.
The stress related to banking is likely related to those needed to forecast and develop personal budgets. As the second acceleration period of COVID-19 cases is ongoing and with the potential for economic slowing to continue, the stresses of managing for financial endurance and developing financial resilience are becoming more intense. This also demonstrates that many employees may not have an optimistic view of the employer’s ability to persevere in the face of the epidemic. This is more apparent in places such as Arkansas, Nebraska, Kansas, Massachusetts, and Connecticut.
Schools have not only become an issue of national significance, but it are also creating mixed reactions from teachers, parents, and administrators. This level of uncertainty is now beginning to generate a higher level of concern as various decisions and plans are being announced. This is more pronounced in Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, and Hawaii.
In general, the overall level of mobility has remained consistent with many employers maintaining options for remote work. It is likely that the stress regarding school will overlap with the stress to return to the workplace for many employees. The result of that combines stress will be important to monitor in the coming weeks.
Week of 7/6/2020 Analysis
Unemployment and COVID-19 were the main drivers of stress but changes did occur with the underlying issues and intensity levels. There are also early indications of increases in crisis responses related to violence. With a corresponding level of reporting on rising violent actions, and more specifically shootings, this will be a potential trend to monitor.
Over the past several weeks, the COVID-19 stress was more focused on cases, case counts, and masks. More recently, that has shifted to testing and hospitals. There are spikes in concerns related to testing in states such as Florida, Arizona, and Texas. This appears to be consistent with long lines at testing sites and more people wanting tests.
The hospital stress is higher in places such as New Hampshire, West Virginia, and Massachusetts. Since these hospitals are not over capacity with COVID cases, it is likely that it has a greater correlation to those concerned with re-establishing healthcare services.
Week of 6/29/2020 Analysis
The overall economic activity improved across the country while the number of COVID-19 cases is also increasing. The real challenge is to determine if and how these are related and what it means for everyone moving forward.
First, economic activity is increasing even in states that are still showing lower levels of mobility. Therefore, mobility itself as an indicator for overall recovery appears to be de-coupled from financial activity. It demonstrates the improving strength of organizations with remote work options and those in ecommerce.
The main points of stress are back to belonging to two categories, COVID-19 and unemployment. For much of this week, these stressors are approximately equal in overall intensity. It can be expected that the general intensity of these stressors will increase on an equal and parallel basis in the near term, as new COVID-19 cases accelerate and enhanced unemployment benefits expire.
Week of 6/22/2020 Analysis
This week shows a unique rebalancing among stressors. Rather than the overall stress being driven by one or two independent factors, there are now indications that three drivers are combining to intensify each other.
What we are seeing in the data indicates the areas of new stress is a combination of higher mobility, higher job seeking activity, and increases in COVID-19 cases.
With the “reopening” ongoing and businesses restarting operations, it becomes more clear which jobs may be permanently lost. Therefore, indicators of job search activity appear to be contributing to overall stress.
For those states whereby there is also a recent surge in COVID-19 cases, this creates a situation where organizations and individuals are put into a position to prioritize needs and risks.
Geographically, much of this activity can be seen in the Gulf States and the Carolina’s. As the region depends upon seasonal activity and tourism, it is likely to continue through the summer months.
Week of 6/17/2020 Analysis
In the past week, there has been a divergence in the US with both the number of high stress and low stress states increasing. There is also an increase in the drivers related to shifting of broader economic pressure to personal financial stress.
The recent increases in COVID-19 cases in certain states are having an impact. This is most widely seen in places like Texas, Florida, and Arizona as new infections rise. While there are locations such as Massachusetts and New York, that are reducing the overall number of new cases, the high level of stress is still present and is supported by a persistent number of R3c Disruptive Event Management (DEM) responses.
The personal financial stress is more intense as it relates to evictions. Some states of note are Nevada, Michigan, and Colorado. Other states are also starting to become more concerned with food insecurity. While this is not systemic yet, it will be something to watch for early indications in places like Vermont and Montana.
Week of 6/8/2020 Analysis
In the past two weeks, there has been a broad-based increase in economic stress. This increased in intensity by approximately 14% around the country. It is being compounded by the increase in societal unrest and a persistent level of COVID-19 cases.
There is currently a high correlation of stress from societal unrest and COVID-19. Meaning that the states experiencing the most stress from the coronavirus, in general, are also experiencing a high level of stress from the unrest. Therefore, the states of highest stress in the past few weeks have increased in intensity.
Tropical Storm Cristobal is having an impact, but it is highly regionalized. Gulf coast states are experiencing some stress due to the storm, however, the overall intensity appears to be equivalent to the severity of the storm, which is relatively low.
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