Fourth stimulus check summary: 4 June
US Stimulus check news: live updates | Friday 4 June 2021
- Labor Department report shows 559,000 new jobs added in May, but falls short of predictions
- World stocks fall on inflation concerns amid strong US data reports
- Stimulus checks significantly helped American families, study shows
- New York offers return to work bonus (full story)
- Worker shortage still an issue for US job market
- California Comeback plan includes additional stimulus check for two-thirds of residents
- Manchin and Sinema on the fence over American Jobs Plan (full story)
- OECD raises growth forecasts on vaccine rollouts and US stimulus checks
- Florida confirms state will end $300 weekly unemployment booster in June (full story)
- Child and Dependent Care Credit 2021... all you need to know
- You can track your third stimulus check by using the IRS' online Get My Payment portal
- Keep up to date with the latest US and global vaccine news with our covid-19 vaccine live feed
Take a look at some of our related articles:
“Greenway stimulus” in the infrastructure bill
The Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 introduced new programs to provide funding to create the biking and walking infrastructure in the US. Since its creation those programs have gone underfunded, but with the “Greenway stimulus” advocates want to inject $10 billion into improving the safety and design of trails for those who move around without a car. Currently half of the trips people take in the US are within a 20-minute bike ride and one-quarter are a 20-minute walk.
Across the US Republican-led states are announcing an end to part or all of the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program claiming that the enhanced unemployment benefits cause recipients to stay home instead of looking for work.
25 states have announced they will end federal pandemic unemployment benefits early affecting millions of Americans.
Want to know more about what the employment data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics really means?
Check out this explainer video they put together:
Biden speaks to new study that shows how stimulus checks sent by the federal government reduced hardships for US households.
A recent study found just how much these checks matter, "they drastically reduced depression, anxiety, and hardship for families. More than 40% fewer families struggled to afford food, rent utilities, car payment student loans, and health care expenses.”
Biden has been quiet on his support of additional checks, opting to push his American Families Plan which would include benefits that would provide families with more money through enhanced tax credits and other benefits.
Read our coverage on the impacts the study found here.
Meet the Press discusses how as infection rates decrease, workers postponing to their reentry to the workforce will have more to do with the wages being offered compared to unemployment benefits and child care responsibilities.
Private Sector Perspective on Unemployment in the US
Managing Director of BlackRock, Rick Rieder, provides some insights into why the job numbers are still lower than expected. While Rieder acknowledges that additional federal unemployment benefits may play a role, he also identifies fears of health and safety, the low wages being offered, and the lack of access to affordable childcare are causes of friction as those on unemployment begin their reentry into the workforce.
What do the most recent jobs numbers mean for the prospects of passing a fourth stimulus check? Our team took a look.
After a lackluster jobs report in April, many politicians, economists, and everyday Americans have been waiting to see what progress the labor market made in May. As the rate of those vaccinated increases across the US, more businesses are reopening, and more workers are looking to reenter the job market.
Additionally, many voters wonder what the most recent report means for the prospects of the government sending another round of stimulus checks. Law makers on Capitol Hill will now evaluate the May numbers within the larger economic recovery and determine if sending an additional direct payment could spur more growth.
Curious what President Biden has said on the May jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics?
The President reported that since he took office, over 2 million jobs have been created and that the most recent jobs report shows that workers are earning more.
Check out his full speech:
We're on the right track. Our plan is working. And we're not going to let up now.
No other major economy in the world is growing as fast as ours. No other major economy is gaining jobs as quickly as ours. And none of this success is an accident. It isn't luck.
How have unemployment levels changed compared to pre-pandemic levels?
In February 2020, before the pandemic took hold of the United States, the unemployment rate stood at 3.5%. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has released the unemployment numbers for May 2021 and found that overall the rate has decreased to 5.8%, 2.3 points above its pre-pandemic level. However, this is a serious improvement over the figures from a year ago when unemployment reached 13% in the US.
The unemployment gap needing to be filled to return to pre-pandemic levels is largest among Black and Asian workers.
In February 2020 the unemployment rate for Black Americans was recorded at 5.8%, by May 2020, that number had almost doubled to 10.9%. The situation for Asian workers was a bit different, in that, before the pandemic, the unemployment rate for this group, 2.5%, fell below the national average. However, the BLS found that in May 2020, this number had quadrupled to more than 12%. A year later, the rate has fallen to 5.5%, up considerably from pre-pandemic levels.
Read our full coverage on the May unemployment numbers here.
Vaccinated Americans start to resume normal life
On Thursday, White House officials cautioned that they expect the next few months of economic data to be uneven as vaccinated Americans start to resume normal life.
Labor Secretary Marty Walsh said he was encouraged by wage growth in the past month and what he described in an interview with Bloomberg Television as “decent” gains in manufacturing, education and leisure. Payroll gains falling short of economists’ expectations shows “we’re still recovering from a pandemic,” he said Friday.
“We can’t just flip a switch, but this is a positive positive report,” Walsh said.
Biden says modest jobs growth to accelerate
President Joe Biden credited his vaccination campaign and the economic stimulus he signed into law in March for sustaining U.S. job growth, downplaying a report Friday that again showed hiring lagged economists’ expectations.
“This is historic progress, progress that’s pulling our economy out of the worst crisis it’s been in 100 years,” Biden said in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. “No other major economy in the world is growing as fast as ours. None of this success is an accident. It isn’t luck.”
Congressman backs recurring stimulus check payments
Rep Ritchie Torres of New York has shared a post explaining the benefits of the stimulus checks and called for the federal support to extended in the form of a monthly direct payment. He is one of a number of Democratic lawmakers who have publically called for a recurring fourth stimulus check to continue for the duration of the pandemic.
In a White House press conference on Thursday, Jen Psaki suggested that it is unlikely that a fourth stimulus check will be included in relief bills in the near future. The news comes after a recent report from the University of Michigan found that the three previous rounds of stimulus checks had had a positive impact on recipients’ access to food and healthcare, mental wellbeing and financial stability.
However the Biden administration is known to be pushing for two other massive spending proposals, which it hopes would provide a boost for American families and the US economy.
Unemployment benefits tax refund could be on its way to you
The American Rescue Plan included a little-known provision that made the first $10,200 of unemployment benefits received in 2020 tax-free. However when the bill was signed into law in March this year many people had already filed their tax returns for the year, meaning they are due a refund.
The IRS has confirmed that they are sending out refunds worth up to $1,200 per person at the moment. Here's everything you need to know about the payments...
The American Rescue Plan instituted a complete overhaul of the existing Child Tax Credit programme which is set to begin from 15 July. The old system had provided a single end-of-year credit worth up to $2,000 per child, but the new one distribute the money in the form of monthly direct payments.
Parents will start to receive these payments automatically from next month, but some may prefer to keep their support as a single tax credit. Here's why that may benefit some families, and how to opt out of the Child Tax Credit monthly payments...
A reminder on sick pay from NYS Lt. Governor
Lieutenant Governor of New York State, Kathy Hochul, has reminded New Yorkers that they "won’t lose pay if you take a recovery day after receiving your vaccine." Ms. Hochul retweeted a message from the NYS Dept. of Labor, which stated: "In New York State, sick leave is mandated by law, including any recovery period following the COVID-19 vaccine."
That reminder will come as a relief for the many New Yorkers who have been suffering from side effects after getting vaccinated and need to take a day off work to recover.
New federal report shows jobs market gains
The US jobs markets has grown substantially in May, with twice as many people finding work as did during April but falling short of targets. Rubeela Farooqi, chief US economist at High Frequency Economics, said that news reflected a difficult path back to pre-pandemic levels: “It’s probably going to be a bumpy ride from here till September."
This news may well have a knock-on effect on the prospective fourth stimulus check, which the White House has dismissed so far. With more people that expected still out of work, additional stimulus support may be required.
Stimulus checks work
For now the White House appears unlikely to sanction another round of direct payments, but a recent study by the University of Michigan has suggested that they are an extremely effective measure.
The report found that the stimulus checks have helped improve the access to food and healthcare, mental wellbeing and financial security of recipients. At least 28 Democratic lawmakers are known to support a recurring fourth stimulus check, but it remains to be seen if Biden will pass more payments.
Check on the status of your IRS tax refund
The IRS is in the process of working through a backlog of millions of tax returns, some that date back to 2019. Unfortunately this means that many Americans have been left waiting for tax refunds that should have arrived.
If you think this may be you, you can check the status of your tax refund payment easily using the IRS' online portal. Simply follow the instructions to get day-by-day updates on the process.
Are you in line for a Child Tax Credit monthly payment?
The IRS have announced that their Child Tax Credit online portal is set to go live from the start of July, ahead of the first wave of monthly direct payments going out on 15 July. Parents could be in line to receive up to $300 per child, but many are unsure about the eligibility requirements for the federal support.
Fortunately the White House has confirmed that the vast majority of families will be covered, with 88% of American children expected to receive the payments.
The stimulus check payments have been an unprecedented move in American history, and a new study from the University of Michigan set out to examine the impact of the three direct payments. They found that the additional income helped many keep food on the table and a roof over their head. The data used to complete the study comes from the US Census Bureau “Household Pulse Survey (HPS).”
The survey asked millions of US residents how stimulus checks had affected their access to food and healthcare, depression and anxiety, ability to make rent and mortgage payments, and more.
New Child Tax Credit can cut childhood poverty in half
The overhaul of the Child Tax Credit programme was one of the key inclusions in the American Rescue Plan and leaders in the Democratic Party are eager to see the provision extended. Intitially, just 12 months of funding is provided but Biden's American Families Plan would extend it through 2025.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi shares some of the benefits of the new system, which is set to begin on 15 July with monthly payments worth up to $300 per child going out to eligible families.
Scammers are after your IRS tax refund
The tax authority is still working through a backlog of millions of tax returns that still need to be processed, which has left some Americans waiting months for their tax refund payments. However some unscrupulous scammers are reportedly trying to steal your money; the IRS has issued a list of guideance to ensure you don't get cheated out of the payment.
How have stimulus checks helped low-income Americans?
A report from the New York Times looks into the impact that the previous rounds of stimulus check payments have had on the US economy, particularly how they have affected individuals and families most vulnerable during the pandemic. The report found that the direct payments had a positive impact on food poverty, financial instability and mental well-being.
This news may well strengthen calls for a fourth stimulus check, as previous payments certainly seem to have been effective. It remains to be seen if Biden will push for more direct payments though.
Possibility of a fourth stimulus check?
The prospect of a fourth stimulus check has faded slightly in recent weeks as President Biden opts to focus on other legislative priorities.
In March and April he unveiled two new large-scale spending packages, the American Jobs Plan and the American Families Plan, both of which aim to reverse the damage done by the pandemic and reshape the American economy.
The President is already facing significant push-back from Republicans who argue that his existing infrastructure bill is too expensive, making the inclusion of recurring stimulus payments unlikely
Still waiting for third stimulus payment?
Use the IRS' Get My Payment portal or download the app from Google Play/Apple Store
IRS advice for failing to meet tax deadline
The Internal Revenue Services have issued a Q&A for those filers who failed to submit their return by the recent 17 May deadline.
$1,200 return to work bonuses in New York: who can get it and how to claim it
New York is set to join other states in handing out bonuses to individuals that find a job to reduce the number of people collecting unemployment.
US wages rising
Job growth could also exceed expectations. Households were very upbeat about the labor market in May. The National ADP employment report on Thursday showed private companies hired the most workers in 11 months in May. The ADP report, however, has a poor track record predicting the private payrolls count in the Labor Department's employment report.
"The critical questions in the employment report will be how many workers did employers manage to entice back into the workforce last month and how much did they have to raise wages to achieve this," said David Kelly, chief global strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management in New York.
Average hourly earnings are forecast rising 0.2% after shooting up 0.7% in April. That would lift the year-on-year increase in wages to 1.6% from 0.3% in April. There is anecdotal evidence that companies, including restaurants, are raising wages to attract and retain workers.
Postings on Poachedjobs.com, a national job board for the restaurant/hospitality industry, showed restaurants offering as much as $30-$35 per hour for lead line cooks.
Optimism surrounding May job market figures
US job growth likely accelerated in May as vaccinations eased the pandemic's grip on the economy, but companies faced difficulties hiring, with millions of unemployed Americans at home because of childcare problems and generous unemployment checks, leaving open the chance for another letdown in job creation.
The Labor Department's closely watched employment report on Friday could offer assurance that the recovery from the pandemic recession was on track after worker shortages also blamed on lingering fears over covid-19 sharply restrained employment growth in April, which delivered roughly a quarter of the new jobs economists had forecast.
Slower hiring stirred debate among some economists that growth was stagnating at a time when inflation was rising.
"With the reopening of the economy, we should be seeing very strong job growth," said Ryan Sweet, a senior economist at Moody's Analytics in West Chester, Pennsylvania. "The supply constraints are problematic, but it doesn't mean that's going to prevent the economy from continuing to recover. The U.S. is not experiencing stagflation and it won't over the next few years.
Stocks steady, dollar climbs as U.S. recovery sparks Fed tapering fears
The dollar hit a multi-week high on Friday while European stocks, oil and gold steadied as markets braced for further signs the US economic recovery could drive inflation and an early withdrawal of Federal Reserve stimulus.
US Treasury yields remained elevated after jumping overnight, while the dollar held onto its biggest gain since April, after better-than-expected employment data raised expectations for a strong reading for Friday's nonfarm payrolls.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index was up 0.2% by 0730 GMT, trading just below its record high hit earlier this week, and contrasting with an earlier 0.3% fall in MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan.
"Overall the market is still very, very bullish, and the data we got overnight out of the U.S. was very, very positive," said Kyle Rodda, a market analyst at IG in Melbourne.
"I think the consensus overall is that there's reasonably limited risk that the Fed is going to pull away the punchbowl."
Can employers in the US make covid-19 vaccine mandatory?
The Equal Employment Opportunities Commission issued new guidance allowing employers to require employees to get vaccinated, but protections still remain.
How have the three stimulus checks affected well-being and welfare in the US?
For many across the US, the three stimulus checks sent have been an economic lifeline to weather the pandemic and its effects on the labor market.
$2000 return to work bonuses in Arizona: who can get it and how to claim it
Arizona is using a two-pronged strategy to get the unemployed back in the state’s workforce by cutting federal unemployment but offering rewards for work.
US stimulus checks live updates: welcome
Welcome to our live US stimulus checks blog for Friday 4 June, the start of what could be a significant month.
Throughout the day, we’ll be bringing you all the latest information on a possible fourth direct payment as well as updates on the third stimulus check, which the IRS has been distributing since the $1.9tn American Rescue Plan was signed into law in early March.