Third stimulus check news summary: 2 April 2021
Stimulus check live updates: Friday 2 April 2021
- More than 130 million stimulus checks now sent out, according to IRS
- Social Security recipients should get check by 7 April, IRS says (more info)
- Over 75 Democratic lawmakers pushing for recurring fourth check (full details)
- President Biden unveiled $2tn infrastructure plan on Wednesday
- More than half of Americans have used their stimulus check to pay off debt
- Track the status of your stimulus check using the IRS' Get My Payment tool
- US covid-19 cases/deaths: 30.60 million/554,074 (live updates from Johns Hopkins University)
Related news stories:
A reminder that you can track the status of your third stimulus check by using the IRS' Get My Payment portal.
If you were among those who didn't receive the first or second stimulus check despite qualifying for it, you can claim your money when you file your 2020 tax return.
Stimulus checks lead to rise in charitable giving
The stimulus checks distributed in the US during the coronavirus pandemic have contributed to a rise in charitable donations, according to a report by MarketWatch.
MarketWatch notes that charitable giving increased by 10.6% between 2019 and 2020, quoting Woodrow Rosenbaum, the chief data officer at fundraising campaign Giving Tuesday, as saying there was a "measurable spike" in $1,200 and $2,400 donations to charity when the first stimulus check was sent out in April 2020.
"This suggests that at least some people were donating their entire stimulus check to charity at that time," Rosenbaum said.
Around 4.2 million people told a poll conducted by the US Census Bureau in the first half of March that they had used their third stimulus check to make a charitable donation or had given their direct payment to family members.
Direct-deposit recipients of the third stimulus check should see the reference "IRS TREAS 310 - TAX EIP3", or something similar, when their payment arrives in their bank account.
SSI recipients should get their checks next week
Stimulus payments to Social Security (SSI) recipients and other federal beneficiaries who do not normally file a tax return have suffered delays but are expected to go out this week and should be received on Wednesday 7 April.
If you haven't signed up for direct deposit with the IRS, the quickest and easiest way to make sure they have your contact details is by filing your 2020 tax return with your current home address. If your payment can’t be delivered to you for any reason, it will be returned to the IRS.
How to set up direct deposit with the IRS
If your payment was sent but not delivered and returned to the IRS, consult the Get My Payment tool. You may see the message: “Need More Information,”. Click on the button that says “Direct Deposit,” then answer the series of security questions before completing the direct deposit form. At this point, you can enter a routing and account number for your current bank account, prepaid debit card or alternative financial product that has a routing and account number associated with it.
Dollar posts third straight weekly rise after upbeat U.S. payrolls report
The dollar rose on Friday in thin trading, posting its third straight weekly gain, after data showed the world's largest economy created more jobs than expected in March, suggesting it is on a steady path to recovery from the pandemic.
Financial markets are closed in Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Britain, and Europe in observance of the Good Friday holiday. Wall Street is also closed, while the U.S. bond and currency markets are open because Good Friday is not a U.S. government holiday.
Experts predict positive continuation in US job market
Economists expect job growth will average at least 700,000 per month in the second and third quarters. That, combined with the fiscal stimulus and about $19 trillion in excess savings accumulated by households during the pandemic, is expected to unleash a powerful wave of pent-up demand.
Recurring stimulus checks: how would they work and who is pushing for them?
Over 75 congressional Democrats are urging President Biden to include more direct stimulus payments in the Build Back Better plan to be unveiled Wednesday.
Fourth stimulus check?
There is plenty of speculation of when a next stimulus check could be forthcoming. This seems somewhat premature with October being the soonest the fourth check could feasibly come about.
"Asking corporate America just to pay their fair share"
Joe Biden gave a White House briefing after the US economy added 900,000 jobs in March and said that experts believed raising taxes would not slow the economic recovery at all.
Dollar, US Treasuries edge higher on strong labor report
The dollar and the yield on the benchmark Treasury note edged higher in light trading on Friday after data showing a surge in the hiring of Americans in March pointed to a US economic recovery that is poised to be the strongest in decades.
Equity markets were closed for Good Friday in the Americas, Europe and elsewhere, but it is not a US government holiday and the Labor Department released the closely watched non-farm payrolls report.
The US economy added 916,000 jobs in March, more than economists' forecast of 647,000, and the unemployment rate fell to 6.0% from the previous month's 6.2%. Jobs numbers for February were revised upwards according to the jobs report.
Futures for the S&P 500 stock index extended gains to 0.43% after the report.
MLB moving All-Star Game, draft out of Georgia
Major League Baseball (MLB) Commissioner Robert Manfred said the league was relocating its 2021 All-Star Game and MLB Draft from Atlanta, following outcry over Georgia's new voting restrictions.
"Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box," Manfred said in a written statement. "Fair access to voting continues to have our game’s unwavering support."
Georgia last week strengthened identification requirements for absentee ballots, shortened early voting periods for runoffs and made it a crime to offer food and water to voters waiting in line.
The law, which was endorsed by the state's Republican Governor Brian Kemp, faces legal challenges as civil rights groups say it aims to suppress voting among Black people and other racial minorities.
Democratic President Joe Biden has been sharply critical of the law and on Wednesday said he would support moving the July All-Star Game out of the state as a form of protest, telling ESPN "This is Jim Crow on steroids what they're doing in Georgia."
Photo: EFE/EPA/ERIK S. LESSER
Biden heralds jobs report, warns progress can be reversed
U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday heralded data that showed the U.S. economy created the most jobs in seven months in March but warned Americans that the progress on the economy and fighting the coronavirus could be reversed.
"We still have a long way to go," Biden told reporters. Nonfarm payrolls surged by 916,000 jobs last month, the biggest gain since last August.
"In the face of face of this great news, I need also to make this clear and direct statement to the American people: progress we've worked so hard to achieve can be reversed," he said.
IRS promotes app for tax filing
The IRS App can be downloaded from the ITunes store or via Google Play and offers a handy way for tax filers to complete their annual declarations.
US job growth accelerates in March
U.S. employers hired more workers than expected in March, spurred by increased vaccinations and more pandemic relief money from the government, cementing expectations that an economic boom was underway.
Nonfarm payrolls surged by 916,000 jobs last month, the Labor Department said on Friday. That was be the biggest gain since last August. Data for February was revised higher to show 468,000 jobs created instead of the previously reported 379,000.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast payrolls increasing by 647,000 jobs in March. The unemployment rate fell to 6.0% last month from 6.2% in February. The unemployment rate has been understated by people misclassifying themselves as being "employed but absent from work."
The closely watched employment report marked a painful anniversary for the labor market. The March 2020 employment report was the first to reflect the mandatory closures of non-essential businesses such as restaurants, bars and gyms to slow the onset of the just-emerging pandemic.
Nearly 1.7 million jobs were lost that month, and another 20.7 million would vanish in April. Economists estimate it could take at least two years to recoup the more than 22 million jobs lost during the pandemic.
US economy bouncing back
The U.S. economy added 916,000 jobs in March, more than economists' forecast of 647,000, and the unemployment rate fell to 6.0% from the previous month's 6.2%. Jobs numbers for February were revised upwards according to the jobs report.
Despite the strong numbers the data will not alter the Federal Reserve's stance on monetary policy, said Steven Ricchiuto, U.S. chief economist at Mizuho Securities USA in New York.
"The economy's bouncing back, but it's not producing the things that are going to change the direction of monetary policy," Ricchiuto said. "We're going to test the 1.77% level (in the 10-year Treasury note), but I'm not sure it's going to break (through) on this number."
Coronavirus resurgence a bigger worry than inflation - White House's Boushey
The United States is not at risk of a dangerous spell of inflation after a banner month of gains for workers, a top Biden economic official said on Friday, but the fast pace of business reopenings could cause a coronavirus resurgence.
"We must contain the virus in order to get the economy up and running, and people are seeing a lot more confidence," said Heather Boushey, a member of the White House's Council of Economic Advisers, after the administration ramped up vaccines and signed a $1.9 trillion stimulus bill.
"The question is are we moving too fast, too soon." A Labor Department report earlier on Friday showed the U.S. economy creating the most jobs in seven months in March, a report that could mark the start of the strongest economic performance this year in decades.
President Joe Biden's administration aggressively pushed a $1.9 trillion stimulus bill through Congress in his first weeks in office and is working towards a goal to have enough vaccine in stock to cover all of the country's adults by May.
CDC: Vaccinated people can resume travel at 'low risk'
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday said fully vaccinated people can safely travel at "low risk", after the agency had held off for weeks on revising guidance that discouraged all non-essential trips.
The announcement lifting the agency's guidance that all Americans should avoid non-essential travel should be a shot in the arm for a US travel industry still struggling since the covid-19 crisis began in early 2020. The new CDC guidance specifically greenlights vaccinated grandparents getting on airplanes to see grandchildren.
A group representing major US airlines including American Airlines, Delta Air lines, United Airlines Southwest Airlines and other trade groups had urged the CDC on March 22 to immediately update its guidance to say "vaccinated individuals can travel safely." Air travel still remains down 43% from pre-covid levels and business and international travel remain even harder hit.
Roger Dow, CEO of the US Travel Association, said the "new travel guidance is a major step in the right direction that is supported by the science and will take the brakes off the industry that has been hardest hit by the fallout of covid by far."
The new guidance also says fully vaccinated people do not need to get a covid-19 test before or after travel and do not need to self-quarantine after travel.
"Vaccines can help us return to the things we love about life, so we encourage every American to get vaccinated as soon as they have the opportunity," CDC director Rochelle Walensky said in a statement.
Photo: Hayden Smith / EFE
Biden allows Trump ban on temporary foreign workers to expire
President Joe Biden allowed a proclamation from his Republican predecessor that had blocked many temporary foreign workers from coming into the United States to expire on Wednesday, according to a related court filing on Thursday.
The Democratic president has rolled back some of former President Donald Trump's immigration policies since taking office on 20 January including last month revoking a proclamation that had blocked many immigrant visa applicants from entering the United States.
Trump first issued his directive on temporary foreign workers in June 2020 and renewed it through 31 March before leaving office, portraying it as necessary to protect American workers amid high unemployment during the coronavirus pandemic.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Photo by Ed JONES / AFP
Canceling student loan debt is "a question of justice" says Warren
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren is calling for student loan debts to be written off. "Cancelling $50,000 of student loan debt is a matter of racial justice, it is a matter of economic justice, it is a matter of generational justice. It would close the black-white wealth gap in America, by the those who have student loan debt by 25 points; 40% of the people who are dealing with student loan debt were not able to finish college. Young people today, increasingly cannot start small businesses if they have student loan debt, if you don't have student loan debt, you have a chance to do that".
Biden's infrastructure ideas are popular, but support for plan is partisan
President Joe Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure plan is loaded with road repairs, internet upgrades and other initiatives that are widely popular on their own, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll, but US public support declines when the initiatives are packed into a Democratic bill and sold as a Biden-backed plan.
The 31 March-1 April national opinion poll highlights the challenges facing Biden and fellow Democrats in Congress as they roll out the American Jobs Plan in front of Republican opposition and a hyper-partisan American public.
While most Americans, including many Republicans, like the ideas in the plan in general, they are less likely to support legislation written by Democrats to make those ideas a reality, the poll shows. Democrats control both chambers of Congress by narrow margins, and the prospects for passage could be difficult if Republicans line up against the plan.
Republican leaders have been sharply critical of the planned expansion of federal spending, especially if it is financed with tax increases. Some Democratic leaders also have raised issues. Economists at Georgetown University estimate a $1.5 trillion infrastructure investment could create 15 million jobs.
The poll found: - 79% of Americans supported a government overhaul of American roadways, railroads, bridges, and ports. - 71% supported a plan to extend high-speed internet to all Americans. - 68% supported an initiative to replace every lead pipe in the country. - 66% supported tax credits for renewable energy.
Americans also were largely supportive of ways that Biden has proposed to pay for his massive infrastructure bill. According to the poll, 64% of US adults supported a tax hike on corporations and large businesses, and 56% supported ending tax breaks for the fossil fuel industry.
However, public support appeared to dip when the survey switched from general questions about infrastructure to more specific queries about a Biden-endorsed plan. Only 45% of Americans said they would support a jobs and infrastructure plan that was 'recently released by the Biden administration.' Another 27% said they were opposed and the remaining 28% said they were not sure.
Almost 500,000 women return to US labor force
Nearly 500,000 women came back to the labor force in March as schools reopened in the US. Council of Economic Advisers member Heather Boushey said vaccine distribution is a top priority for schools and childcare centers to reopen safely, which will play a vital role in women going back to work.
"What we see in the decline in women's employment is the fact that they are responsible for their children," she said during a White House news conference this week. "Women are a key part of the middle class. President Biden has been very clear on raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour".
US job growth accelerates in March; unemployment falls to 6%
US employers hired more workers than expected in March, spurred by increased vaccinations and more pandemic relief money from the government, cementing expectations that an economic boom was underway.
Nonfarm payrolls surged by 916,000 jobs last month, the Labor Department said on Friday. That was be the biggest gain since last August. Data for February was revised higher to show 468,000 jobs created instead of the previously reported 379,000. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast payrolls increasing by 647,000 jobs in March.
The unemployment rate fell to 6.0% last month from 6.2% in February. The unemployment rate has been understated by people misclassifying themselves as being 'employed but absent from work.'
Economists estimate it could take at least two years to recoup the more than 22 million jobs lost during the pandemic. The White House's massive $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package approved in March is sending additional $1,400 checks to qualified households and fresh funding for businesses. Economists expect job growth will average at least 700,000 per month in the second and third quarters.
Backdated stimulus payments through Recovery Rebate Claim
The IRS has reminded citizens that if they did not receive an Economic Impact Payment last year, or felt that they should have received more, can claim a Recovery Rebate when they file their 2020 tax return. This will not apply to anyone who received the full amount of the stimulus payment.
Fourth stimulus check would halve poverty in the US, says Tax Policy Center
In case you missed it: recent research by the Tax Policy Center has shown that the economic-aid measures in President Biden’s relief bill will cut the 2021 poverty rate in the US from 13.7% to 8.7% - and that a fourth stimulus check would reduce this percentage further to around 6.5%.
Over 75 Democratic congressionals are urging President Biden to back recurring stimulus payments for Americans.
Stimulus checks prompt surge in household-bill payments
The distribution of $1,400 stimulus checks as part of President Biden’s $1.9tn relief bill has coincided with a significant rise in household-bill payments, figures released this week show.
Between 17 and 21 March, the bill-paying service doxo says it witnessed a 30% increase in such payments compared with the same time period in February.
"We estimate that the majority – 62% – of the $1400 stimulus checks are being used to pay household bills," doxo also said.
"We're getting a strong signal that, generally, the majority of people are being responsible with these payments," says doxo's vice-president of marketing and consumer services, Jim Kreyenhagen, per CNBC.
There are 13 states that haven’t waived taxes on the first $10,200 of unemployment benefits, meaning taxpayers will need to pay state taxes on that income.
If your stimulus check is arriving by mail, here's how you can track the status of your direct payment.
In its latest update on the distribution of third stimulus checks, the IRS said around two million direct payments had been sent out by mail.
If your money is being mailed to as a paper check or pre-paid debit card, here are some reasons why.
After an initial delay in sending $1,400 stimulus payments to federal beneficiaries, the IRS projects that the funds will start to arrive by 7 April.
Stimulus checks being sent out by direct deposit are arriving in Americans' bank accounts labeled with the reference "IRS TREAS 310 - TAX EIP3".
If you didn't receive either the first or the second stimulus check despite qualifying, you can claim your money in your 2020 tax return.
Europe should match US' stimulus ambition - French finance minister
Europe should match the ambition shown by the United States with its huge new economic stimulus, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Thursday.
The new administration of US President Joe Biden is already making payments to households under a new $1.9tn covid-19 relief package and plans to plough $2.3tn into infrastructure investments to fire up the world's biggest economy.
"Whatever we may think about it, the American stimulus plan shows ambition, and the return of US ambition is a good thing," Le Maire said in a speech at the Geneva Graduate Institute.
"The best response to US ambition isn't to fight it. It is to match it. Europe needs to challenge itself like America does," he added.
While European countries' support for their economies last year was on par with that seen in the United States, the new US stimulus dwarves the European Union's 750bn-euro ($881bn) economic recovery plan.
Though the 27-nation bloc agreed the landmark stimulus fund last summer, EU governments are still submitting detailed plans on how they aim to spend money from the fund, which many still need to ratify.
IRS has now sent out over 130 million stimulus checks
The IRS says it has distributed "more than 4 million more" third stimulus checks as part of its latest payment run this week, taking the total number of checks sent out to "more than 130 million".
"This batch of payments contains more than 2 million direct deposit payments (with a total value of more than $5 billion) and approximately 2 million paper check payments (with a total value of nearly $5 billion)," the IRS said in a statement on Thursday.
In total, around $335bn in stimulus checks has been sent as part of President Biden’s $1.9tn coronavirus relief bill, the agency said.
Will Biden include a fourth stimulus check in new jobs plan?
The IRS is still distributing the third direct payments, but a group of Senate Democrats are calling on Biden to introduce recurring stimulus checks in the upcoming economic package.
(Photo: REUTERS/Tom Brenner)
Americans can check the status of their third stimulus check by using the IRS' Get My Payment portal.
Stimulus check live news: welcome
Welcome to our live blog bringing you the latest updates on the third round of stimulus checks, plus on a possible fourth direct payment. We'll also provide information on other economic-aid measures such as the expanded child tax credit, which gives households up to $3,600 per child over a 12-month period.