US financial news | Summary news 20 September
US financial news: live updates
Headlines: Wednesday 20 September 2023
- Federal Reserve announced no change to interest rates after meeting on Wednesday
- Gas prices surge in California, up 30 cents per gallon in one week
- SNAP benefits to increase in October
- 2024 Social Security COLAlikely to be far lowerthan the increase seen in 2023
- Various locations of major banks will close across the country next year
Read more from AS USA:
One of the key demands of the United Auto Workers (UAW) union is the move to a 32-hour workweek, down from 40, at no loss of pay. The aim is to create a healthier work and life balance without loss of productivity.
Indeed, companies and governments have been trialing the idea and have seen productivity actually increase. A trial program in Iceland was such an “overwhelming success” that now 86 percent of the nation’s workforce are either now working fewer hours or in the process of reducing their workweek.
Read more for details on where workers work the shortest weeks.
Each month, the Social Security Administration (SSA) sends different benefits, including those for retired workers and survivors (children, spouses, widows, widowers or parents of a deceased beneficiary).
It also sends disability payments, including Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
These benefits increase each year thanks to the cost of living adjustment (COLA), which is calculated and applied to payments so as not to affect the purchasing power of beneficiaries.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits are about to increase.
Maximum SNAP benefits for 2024 will increase by 3.5 to 3.8 percent. These are the maximum amounts that will be awarded in the 48 contiguous United States, including the District of Columbia, beginning October 1 of this year.
Federal reserve head speaks about inflation
Inflation has moderated somewhat since the middle of last year, and longer-term inflation expectations appear to remain well anchored as reflected in a broad range of surveys of households, businesses and forecasters as well as measures from financial markets.
Nevertheless, the process of getting inflation sustainably down to 2% has a long way to go.
People who receive Social Security benefits are enrolled in Medicare Part B with the premium deducted directly from your check. This means that a portion of your Social Security benefit is automatically used to pay for your Medicare Part B premium. If you don’t get benefits from Social Security you’ll get a premium bill from Medicare every three months.
The standard monthly premium for enrollees of this plan is $164.90 in 2023 while the annual deductible for all Medicare Part B beneficiaries is $226.
Interest rates stay steady at latest Federal Reserve meeting
The Federal Reserve has maintained its current stance on interest rates, in line with market expectations. Consequently, the benchmark borrowing rate remains unchanged, ranging from 5.25% to 5.5%.
Nevertheless, the central bank has conveyed its intention to keep interest rates at elevated levels for an extended duration. Fed Chair Jerome Powell emphasized that the central bank's primary focus is reestablishing price stability, as ignoring this objective can have severe repercussions on the economy.
Epic to pay out $245 million for unapproved in-game purchases on Fortnite
The FTC has begun notifying over 37 million people who may be entitled to compensation from Epic Games. The agency reached a settlement with the creator of Fortnite for alleged deceptive practices designed to get players to make unwanted purchases and without parental consent in the popular videogame.
Epic agreed to pay $245 million in compensation to eligible recipients. It is unclear how much of a refund will be paid out for each claim but “will depend on several factors, including how many people file a claim.”
In the US, a retiree’s average social security check in August was $1,840.27. For some retirees, these incomes are supplemented by pensions (56 percent) and private retirement accounts like Roth IRAs or a 401(k) (42 percent). Even with public and private options, poverty impacts around one in every ten seniors, highlighting the challenges many older generations face when they exit the workforce.
Even with public and private options, poverty impacts around one in every five seniors, underscoring the challenges many older generations face when they exit the workforce. The average for all OECD countries is 13.1 percent.
To compare the retirement security of workers in the US, we looked at four different variables: the poverty rate for seniors, the average age of retirement, the average number of years spent in retirement, the average, and the retirement savings programs (public and private) available to the average worker.
Read our full coverage for more details.
The Federal Open Market Committee will wrap up its September meeting on Wednesday. Here’s what the experts think policymakers will decide on interest rates.
Some key areas of the economy are showing signs which bode well for inflation to continue cooling in the United States through the end of the year.
Online banking is taking hold of the nation and this is forcing brick-and-mortar branches to shut across various states.
Some states continue to send stimulus checks or tax refunds to their residents to give their residents a financial lift.
Gas prices today, September 20 in California by county
California is one of the most expensive places to fill up your gas tank in the US, but recent increases are jaw dropping, up 30 cents in the past week.
Here’s the average cost per gallon for each county in the Golden State.
With certain Social Security recipients due to be get their monthly check this week, we offer the lowdown on the SSA’s payment schedule.
Social Security benefits are adjusted each year to prevent Americans from being swamped by inflation. This cost of living adjustment (COLA) has been especially important in the last two years, which saw adjustment increases of 5.9% and 8.7% in 2022 and 2023, respectively.
Read our full coverage for the latest forecasts on the 2024 COLA.
Neobanks are a new trend in the financial sector and describe institutions that offer some services of a traditional bank but through a fully digital platform. Most neobanks, like Chime and Revolut, that operate in the US, are FDIC-insured, meaning that depositors can receive up to $250,000 if the bank fails. This makes the banks as safe as traditional options, but with limited services and no physical branches, neobanks may not meet the financial needs of all those who require banking services.
Read more in our full coverage on the growing trend of neobanks.
Senator McConnell says government shutdown would be a loser for the GOP
We’re waiting to see what the House is going to do on a continuing resolution. I think all of you know I’m not a fan of government shutdowns, I’ve seen a few of them over the years, they never have produced a policy change and they’ve always been a loser for Republicans, politically.
In addition to retired workers, the Social Security Administration (SSA) issues millions of payments to people with disabilities. They fall into the category of recipients of Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
The size of the checks varies depending on each person’s situation. However, year after year, the SSA makes an adjustment to prevent beneficiaries from losing out because of inflation, the cost of living adjustment (COLA).
The October SSI check of $914 will be issued automatically on Friday, 29 September.
Negative amortization is a term in finance used to describe when the initial balance of a loan increases over time rather than decreasing as it normally would with standard loan amortization.
It occurs when the borrower’s payments are insufficient to cover the interest accruing on the loan, resulting in unpaid interest being added to the loan’s principal balance. This can lead to a growing debt instead of a decreasing one despite payments being made.
Welcome to AS USA's live financial blog!
We'll be reporting on all the financial news affecting US consumers as inflation ticks up, consumer spending slows, and the Federal Reserve will decide if interest rates should be increased once again at the conclusion of their two-day meeting today, Wednesday 20 September.