Inflation Relief Checks: summary news 1 December
Headlines: Thursday, 1 December 2022
- Senate approves deal to avert railroad strike, but rejects 7 days of sick leave measure
- Supreme Court to hear arguements on Biden Student Loan Forgiveness Program
- SCOTUS keeps hold on Biden student loan debt cancelation in place. When the program could start
- Experts predicting a significant market adjustment in house prices
- Inflation is changing consumer habits this holiday season
- Fed Chair Jerome Powell will "moderate the pace of our rate increases" to avoid a recession
- Congress moves to prevent rail workers strike, offering seven days of paid sick leave
- More than 19M California residents continue to receive Middle-Class Tax Refunds
- Who is eligible for tax relief in South Carolina and Virginia?
- Trucking companies struggle to attract and retain workers as wages fall
- Can you receive two Social Security checks in the same month?
Railroad strike averted, Senate passes legislation but without paid sick leave measure
The US was just eight days away from a potential railroad strike that could have paralyzed the nation, but the Senate passed legislation forcing unions to accept a tentative deal reached earlier this year. With the 80-15 vote the bill will now go to President Biden's desk for his signature, expected on Friday.
However, the Senate rejected another measure that also passed the House on Wednesday which would have given railroad workers seven paid sick leave days. The bill failed to clear the 60 vote hurdle. A handful of unions had rejected the tentative agreement because of the exclusion on paid sick days.
When will Biden Student Loan Forgiveness be applied now that SCOTUS will hear case?
The Supreme Court announced on Thursday that it will hear arguments on the legality of President Biden’s Student Loan Forgiveness Program on an expedited basis. However, the high court left in place the hold on the Department of Education discharging any student loan debt put in place by a lower court.
So borrowers will have to wait to know the fate of the program after the justices will hear the case in Febraury.
Supreme Court will hear Biden Student Loan Forgiveness case
The Supreme Court on Thursday said that it will hear arguments on the legality of President Biden's student debt cancelation program. If allowed to go forward, student borrowers could apply to have up to $20,000 of their student loan debt erased.
After the rollout of the program in October 26 million people submitted applications, the Education Department had already approved 16 million when a federal court put the program on pause. The Supreme Court will hear agruments in February.
Fed chair Jerome Powell talks about where inflation needs to be for real wage growth
Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell indicated this week that policymakers are considering a pivot in their aggressive rate hike strategy to tackle high inflation. The latest data showed inflation colling to 6% but the central bank wants to see price increases down around 2% and remain stable.
The impetus is to assure that real wage growth can be sustained across the spectrum in a strong job market. Currently, except for those workers at the bottom end of the pay scale, although wages are rising they aren't keeping up with the increased cost of living shrink household incomes.
Better than expected inflation numbers as Fed prepares for next rate hike move
The Bureau of Economic Analysis released October's Personal Consumption Expenditures price index (PCE) on Thursday and it was lower than expected. The key measure of consumer prices, the Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation gauge, showed that inflationary presssures have slowed.
The PCE rose 6% in October, down from the upwardly revised 6.3% the month before. Federal Reserve policymakers are set to meet in two weeks to decide on the next rate hike. Chairman Jerome Powell said that they were considering smaller rate hikes starting this month.
The central bank has been raising rates since March, with the last four consecutive three-quarter percentage point hikes to tame inflation.
The US housing market has recorded years of sustained growth but there is now concern that property prices are due an adjustment.
Home prices in the United States could fall abruptly in the coming months as experts predict that a significant market adjustment is on the cards. The number of home sales has fallen for nine months straight and, with stock beginning to pile up in many markets, prices will have to come down.
When will the Senate vote on railroad strike response
The White House is desperate to avoid an economically damaging strike just before Christmas. The usually union-friendly Joe Biden has been forced to step in to ask that Congress find a compromise between employers and employees. The resolution passed the House of Representatives earlier this week, but still need approval from the Senate.
Here's the latest on the bill's progress in the Senate...
Social Security is a broad term used to cover a few different forms of financial support made available by the federal government. Most people are refering to retirement benefits when they talk about Social Security, and older people do make up the vast majority of Social Security recipients.
As Christmas approaches, some recipients could be in line to get two payments this month. We take a look at who, and how...
Housing market cools as mortgage rates have risen
The housing market, like much of the economy, has endured a turbulent couple of years during the pandemic. The lockdown and subsequent reopening of business across the country brought about a period of high inflation and high interest rates not seen in four decades.
Interest rates were on the floor last year, giving the option of cheap mortgages for home buyers. However this spurred a rush to buy which, in turn, pushed up the value of houses. But after years of sustained growth, it looks like the US housing market may finally be due a readjustment.
The federal government has raised the threshold for backed mortgages in 2023 in a response to the rapid rise in house prices in recent years. The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced that the typical maximum value of a mortgage available for government backing will rise by 12% next year.
This is good news for anyone hoping to take advantage of a backstop mortgage, with better interest rates for eligible customers...
"This agreement was approved by labor and management negotiators in September. On the day that it was announced, labor leaders, business leaders, and elected officials all hailed it as a fair resolution of the dispute between the hard-working men and women of the rail freight unions and the companies in that industry."
"The deal provides a historic 24% pay raise for rail workers. It provides improved health care benefits. And it provides the ability of operating craft workers to take unscheduled leave for medical needs.
Since that time, the majority of the unions in the industry have voted to approve the deal."
Congressional wrangling over rail strike action
Congress has been urged by President Biden to step in and help prevent a railroad worker strike taking place next week. For months unions and railroad operators have been at odds over a new compensation package. The companies have offered a 24% wage increase but were unwilling to offer paid sick leave, as the unions are pushing for.
Both sides are eager to find a resolution to avoid a damaging strike over the holiday period.
Last week Biden issued a statement that read: "I am calling on Congress to pass legislation immediately to adopt the Tentative Agreement between railroad workers and operators – without any modifications or delay – to avert a potentially crippling national rail shutdown."
Fed could dial down interest rate hikes this month
Inflation has been the prime focus for the Federal Reserve for much of 2022 but as inflation continues to cool there could soon be new priorities. High interest rates make borrowing more expensive and discourages business from making greater investments and pushing the pace of economic growth.
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said: "It makes sense to moderate the pace of our rate increases as we approach the level of restraint that will be sufficient to bring inflation down."
Calls for change in Florida as inflation bites
Unemployment benefits programs are largely decided by state authorities, with the amount of support on offer varying greatly in different parts of the country. Florida has one of the lowest unemployment benefits in the country, both in terms of the amount of money on offer and the duration that the support lasts.
Currently Floridians only get 12 weeks of jobless support, but with inflation hurting families' household finances there is a real push for change. However lawmakers in Florida have not approved a major change in more than two decades, leaving residents to suffer if they lose their job.
Markets boosted by Jerome Powell's speech
The Federal Reserve has been on a mission throughout much of 2022 to bring down inflation. Price rises have posed the main risk to consumers for much of the year and the Fed has implemented four separate interest rate hikes in a bid to tackle inflation.
There has been concern that such measures will also serve to strangle growth, slowing the economy at a time of post-pandemic rebuild. But on Wednesday Fed chair Jerome Powell was able to say that they were considering scaling back those effort, causing a surge in the markets.
Growth in the economy during Q3
New data released on Wednesday by the Federal Reserve showed that the US economy did grow in the third quarter of 2022, despite concerns that the interest rate hikes ccould push the country into recession. In a bid to bring down the rate of inflation the Fed acted to make borrowing more expensive, but this will also have brought down the rate of growth.
Lori Bettinger, president of BancAlliance and the former director of the Troubled Asset Relief Program at the Treasury Department, speaks to CBS News about the latest figures.
Chip shortage measures could help tackle inflation
This year we have seen the danger posed when the United States is forced to rely on overseas imports for key resources. This lack of control has caused inflation to rise and hurt consumers. The US opted to boycott Russia-produced oil and gas after the invasion of Ukraine, and has faced a similar conundrum with China-made computer chips.
In a bid to reduce dependency, Biden's CHIPS and Science Act will help boost American manufacturing.
"The SMART Transportation Division does not support the notion of Congress intervening in our collective bargaining negotiations to prevent a strike. We firmly believe in the workers’ right to fight for their own best interests, as well as the best interests of their families.
"Unfortunately, threats to the economy have caused this Congress to believe that a strike aversion is the best course for this nation."
With Black Friday and Cyber Monday behind us, many shoppers are still looking for the best deals to complete their gift list this year.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that prices are up on average 7.7 percent compared to last year, meaning consumers are likely to spend more but buy fewer gifts this holiday season.
Back in September, the financial news site, Bankrate, reported that two in five consumers they surveyed said that inflation would change their holiday shopping decisions.
For more on how inflation impacts consumer behavior and how you can save this gifting season, check out our full coverage.
Unemployment falls in the majority of states
The BLS has released new data showing that of all US states and the District of Colombia, thirty-nine saw decreases in their unemployment rate, with California (-2.1%) leading the pack.
The next greatest decreases were seen in New Jersey (2%), New Mexico (1.8%), Pennsylvania (1.6%), and Rhode Island (1.6).
Oklahoma was the only state to see a substantive increase, with their rate rising 0.5 points since October 2021.
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Good morning and welcome to AS USA, where we'll be bringing you all the latest financial news from the Unted States. Congress has struck a deal to keep railroad workers from striking next week in return for paid sick leave for the first time.