CORONAVIRUS

Second stimulus check: next Covid-19 bill "more focused on jobs"

With unemployment at 13.3% in the US, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin says the next coronavirus relief package will focus on job growth.

Second stimulus check: next relief bill will be "more focused on jobs"
MANDEL NGAN AFP

United States Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has previously offered Americans hope that they’ll be getting another stimulus check, but this week told reporters that a future coronavirus relief package will be "more focused on jobs".

Mnuchin on next stimulus bill: "It'll be much more targeted, much more focused on jobs"

"We’re talking about a bunch of different ideas that we may need to do in another bill, and we want to take our time and make sure we’re thoughtful," Mnuchin said on Tuesday. "So whatever we do, it’ll be much more targeted, much more focused on jobs, bringing back jobs and making sure we take care of our kids."

As part of the CARES Act, a $2.2tn relief package signed into law in March, millions of stimulus checks of up to $1,200 have been sent out to eligible people in the US. A second check was proposed in the HEROES Act, a $3tn bill passed by the House in May, but Republicans in the Senate have balked at the package’s overall spend.

Earlier in June, Mnuchin said the Trump administration was open to distributing a second round of stimulus checks, which are officially known as Economic Payments, telling a Senate hearing: "I think we're going to seriously look at whether we want to do more direct money to stimulate the economy.”

Trump focused on boosting economy through job growth

On Monday, meanwhile, Donald Trump seemed to confirm plans for another stimulus check, telling Scripps journalist Joe St George “we are, we are” when asked whether he would be getting people in the US another check. “We will be doing another stimulus package, it’ll be very good, it’ll be very generous,” he added.

In keeping with Mnuchin’s remarks this week, however, the president's chief focus appears to be on re-energising the country's economy by getting out-of-work Americans back into jobs. His prioritising of employment growth “includes a focus on manufacturing jobs, infrastructure spending, a payroll tax credit, a return-to-work bonus and other related incentives”, explain finance specialists Forbes.

"I think we need less rescue and more incentive," says White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow, who has spoken of his support for measures such as a return-to-work bonus.

Over one million jobless claims for 14 straight weeks

On Thursday, the Department of Labor (DOL) revealed that there have now been over a million first-time claims for unemployment benefits in the US for 14 consecutive weeks. Although unemployment actually fell by 1.4% in May, the most recent figures released by the DOL show a national jobless rate that stands at 13.3%.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, unemployment in the country had dropped to record-low levels, dipping to around 3.5% at the beginning of 2020.

Live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic

At the time of writing, there had been 2,422,312 coronavirus cases in the United States, leading to 124,415 deaths. You can keep up-to-date with the latest America-focused new on the Covid-19 crisis by following our live US blog.