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US Financial News: news summary | 28 June 2023

US Financial News: news summary | 28 June 2023

US Financial News: news summary | 28 June 2023

Headlines | Wednesday, 28 June 2023 

- US consumer confidence jumps to highest level since January 2022

-Biden announces $42 billion investment in broadband for all by 2030

- PCE inflation data for May will be released on Friday

- Fed Chair Jerome Powell tells Congress interest rates are likely to continue increasing this year 

- Initial  unemployment claims held steady last week at 264,000

- The program that grants double food stamps in NY

Walmartwill pay 4 million dollars in compensation to customers

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What to know while we wait for the Supreme Court decision on student loan forgiveness

Millions of student debt holders are anxiously awaiting the decision of the US Supreme Court to uphold or declare unconstitutional President Biden’s executive order to cancel up to $20,000 in student loans.

A decision is thought to be very near and could be announced in the next week.

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Increasing cookout prices

Food inflation has definitely started to slow down, and this is good news for consumers. However, it still won’t be cheaper to celebrate the Fourth of July this year. The reason stems from the current pricing for some of the key menu ingredients.

Dr. Michael Swanson, Wells Fargo Chief Agricultural Economist
Inflation: Will this year’s 4th of July cookout be cheaper or more expensive than last year?

Independence Day is one of the most important federal holidays on the calendar. Families and friends gather to celebrate the tossing off of English shadows as we approach the 250th anniversary of the nation

If the US economy is operating how the Federal Reserve wants then the price of Independence Day cookout will increase every year. What will soon be the first seven months of 2023 is no different; inflation will increase the prices of your barbecue. However, prices have increased more than the Fed wants.

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Why doesn’t Costco allow members to share cards? How much does membership cost?

Following the footsteps of Netflix, Costco is implementing measures to prevent users from sharing memberships.

Although company policy states that client memberships are unique and non-transferable, not all beneficiaries follow this rule to the letter. Many tend to share their memberships either with family, friends or acquaintances.

A company spokesperson told CBS News that this practice increased after the implementation and expansion of self-service checkouts, which is why the company has chosen to take action on the matter.

Here are the changes.

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President Biden goes all in and owns the term "Bidenomics"

US presidents tend to get the credit for how the economy is doing even if they have little role in how it is performing. That can be for both the good and bad. So it makes sense that the current occupant of the White House and his team have embraced the term 'Bidenomics'.

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Walmart will pay 4 million dollars as compensation to customers: who will receive it and how to request it?

The US Department of Justice has rewarded nearly $4 million as compensation to victims of a Walmart gift card scam.

According to Top Class Actions, the Walmart gift card scams allegedly began in 2015 when scammers instructed victims to purchase Walmart gift cards ranging from $500 to $1,000.

Between 2016 and 2017, Walmart froze balances on gift cards suspected of being part of the fraudulent scheme. Subsequently, the Department of Justice sought this frozen money so it could reimburse customers.

The Department of Justice filed a lawsuit for the forfeiture of the $4 million in gift card balances frozen by Walmart. This money will be available as compensation payments to affected customers.

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Direct payments of $914 from Social Security on June 30: who will receive it?

The Social Security Administration continues to mail payments for the month of June. Here are the beneficiaries who can expect to receive $914 on June 30.

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Homes for sale drop to lowest level on record in May

Americans went on a home buying spree during the pandemic taking advantage of historically low mortgage rates. However, now the interest on a home loan is more than double what it was at the end of 2021 and millions of homeowners feel trapped by the ultra-low rate they locked in.

This has led to a dearth of houses being put on the market, new listings were down 25% in May to the third lowest level on record according to Redfin. Furthermore, only 1.4 million homes were for sale last month, the lowest level in the real estate broker’s records.

The lack of supply is forcing those shopping for a new residence to enter bidding wars, which has helped prop up housing prices. In May, Redfin found that 37% of homes sold were purchased for more than their list price.

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New York City gets greenlight for vehicle congestion pricing plan

New York City will become the first city in the United States to move forward with a toll on vehicles entering or remaining in its central business district after the US Department of Transportation approved the city’s assessment of how the congestion charge would help the environment.

The plan had been approved by New York lawmakers in 2019 and was projected to start in 2021. However, agency under the Trump administration did not take any action to advance the plan. Tolling, similar to the system implemented in London, could begin up to 310 days following the tolling agreement.

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Am I eligible to apply for SNAP?

With over forty-two million recipients, the Supplemental Nutritional Assitance Program, commonly known as SNAP, is one of the largest social assistance programs administered in the United States. SNAP is a federal program that is administered at the state level, leading to wide variations in the eligibility criteria and the amount of benefits distributed.

Regardless of the state, SNAP benefits are focused on low-income households, and the funds are deposited each month on an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card that can be used at most grocery stores.

Read more in our full coverage. 

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$1800 Social Security payments on June 28: who will get it?

Each month, the Social Security Administration (SSA) sends money to retired workers and to those eligible to receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

While the SSA has already mailed the first four payments for June, the distribution operation continues, with some recipients slated to receive $1,800 in June.

Read more in our full coverage. 

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US consumer confidence outperforms expectations

Americans are feeling upbeat about the US economy as shown by the latest Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence data released on Tuesday. Estimates had predicted an uptick from the previous month’s reading of 102.5 but June blew past expectations by nearly six points coming in at 109.7.

The optimism is in part due to the resilience of the US economy despite rising prices, which hasn’t deterred consumers from spending. That has kept businesses hiring leading more Americans, 46.8%, to view jobs as plentiful up from 43.3% of those surveyed in May. While there are signs that a recession could be coming, fewer respondents expressed such sentiment dropping to 69.3% from 73.2% saying an economic downturn was “somewhat” or “very” likely.

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AI expected to slash jobs but at the same time reduce prices

Artificial intelligence is all the rage, and fear, at the moment. New applications have been springing up as companies try to take advantage of the advancing technology. This could spell trouble for many workers, especially white collar ones as their skills are made redundant. As many a 7% of American jobs could be wiped out.

This should mean a bonanza for companies’ bottom lines as labor costs are one of their biggest expenses. But not so fast, because the technology could also help consumers hunt down ever better deals to get things cheaper. That will mean much less cash flow for some companies.

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Pandemic led to a rapid surge in retirees

The pandemic caused a significant decrease in the country's labor force participation rate due to widespread layoffs. Even as workers began to return to work, participation remained low, partly due to the large number of new retirees.

According to a report by the St. Louis Federal Reserve, there were 2.4 million more retirees in April than expected before the pandemic. Many older workers opted for retirement due to concerns about their health and the state of the US economy. However, if economic conditions worsen, some younger retirees may be tempted to return to the workforce.

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Social Security checks in July 2023: Dates and amounts

Every month, the Social Security Administration (SSA) issues millions of payments to Social Security recipients, most of which are retired workers.

The data provided by the SSA from May will give insights into how much beneficiaries can expect to receive next month. In May, the SSA sent Social Security checks to 66 million people, of which 74 percent were retired workers. The average check was worth 1,836.06, with the maximum benefit amount for this year being $4,555.

Read our full coverage for details on the July payment schedule. 

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Check how much your state will get in the $42.5 billion broadband infrastructure plan

Under the bipartisan infrastructure bill passed by Congress in 2021, $42.45 billion were allocated to increase access to broadband internet across the country. All states are slated to receive funding for the Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) program.

Read more on how much each state will receive in our full coverage. 

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Hello and welcome to AS USA's live blog covering financial news

A new batch of economic data will be released this week, including the May Personal Consumption Expenditure Price Index (PCE). This inflation measure is the preferred data for the Federal Reserve on how prices are rising.

While the US central bank held off raising rates when they met this month, Chair Jerome Powell has made it clear that rates are expected to rise further before the year is out. The Federal Open Market Committee is due to meet again in July.

Consumer confidence jumped in June to its highest level since January 2022. Despite an uptick in initial unemployment claims last week, rising to 264,000, more Americans feel that jobs are plentiful. There are some warning signs of a recession, but the labor market has remained strong and incredibly tight, aided by consumers continuing to spend despite the rising cost of living.

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