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USA finance and payments news summary | 19 May 2022

Update:
US President Joe Biden speaks while receiving a briefing on hurricane preparedness at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland.

Headlines: 19 May 2022

- White House secures first batch of overseas baby formula as part of Operation Fly Formula program

- The Great Resignation continued in April with eight states seeing an increase in the number of workers who quit their jobs

- Number of people receiving unemployment insurance falls below 1% for the first time since 1969

- The average price of a gallon of gasoline now exceeds $4 in all fifty states for the first time in US history

- Crude oil prices hit $114, an 11% increase over prices recorded this time last month

- The Bitcoin and crypto-collapse continues to have massive impacts on Wall Street, some coins like Luna have hit zero

- Inflation continues to cut into the purchasing power of consumers: what products have seen a decrease in price?

Helpful information & links

- Does working after one’s full retirement age increase Social Security benefits?

- New York State offers home loan forgiveness program

- Wide support for California $400 gas check

What is the maximum unemployment benefit in NY for 2022?

UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION

What is the maximum unemployment benefit in NY for 2022?

Those who lose their job through no fault of their own in New York and meet other requirements can expect at most $504 in weekly jobless financial assistance. However, the real amount will be determined by the state based on a worker’s “base period” with a minimum weekly amount set at $116.

In order to calculate an individual’s unemployment compensation, officials at the New York Department of Labor (NYDOL) will look at a “basic base period” or your “alternate base period. The agency will not “automatically” consider the latter in the event that you have enough wages in your basic base period to assess if you would get a higher weekly amount. 

Here’s a look...

Employment gains in one out of three metropolitan areas over past year

During the past 12 months nonfarm payroll employment increased in 147 metropolitan areas. The remaining 242 areas were essentially unchanged. The largest percentage employment gains from March 2021 to 2022 occurred in:

Atlantic City, New Jersey (+12.3 percent)

Las Vegas, Nevada (+12.1 percent)

Flagstaff, Arizona (+10.2 percent)

Memorial Day weekend gas prices set to hit all-time high

Gas Buddy released its annual summer travel survey, and despite gas prices $1.50 higher than last year 58 percent of respondents say they plan to hit the road, an increase from 2021. However, they are keeping their options open with around two-thirds waiting to confirm their travel plans.

Gas prices are predicted to go over $4.60 per gallon for the start of the summer holiday travel season. Minus any significant events, drives can expect to see prices around $4.40 at the pump on average nationwide through Labor Day weekend.

White House response to baby formula shortages

Supple chain pressures and a major product recall have combined to create a dangerous shortage of infant formula in the United States. President Biden is looking to increase the supply and make parents aware when new products become available near them. There have been reports of baby formula products being resold online at a huge mark-up as parents are desperate to stock up on the essentials. 

Stimulus checks and how the US government has helped Americans

US News

Stimulus checks and how the US government has helped Americans

During the first year of the pandemic the federal government introduced a variety of financial relief programs to ensure that people could cover the cost of essentials amid the economic uncertainty. Tens of millions of people lost their jobs, businesses were shuttered and any savings were quickly depleted. 

The government authorised three rounds of stimulus checks to provide the short-term relief needed, worth a total of $3,200 per person. We take a look back at those payments, and the prospects of another round of stimulus checks...

Read more

"America is back to work.  The number of Americans who are forced to rely on unemployment insurance programs for their support fell to its lowest level in over 52 years. When I took office, there were nearly 20 million Americans on unemployment insurance to feed their families and keep a roof over their heads. Today, that number is about 1.3 million. That’s millions of families moving from government support to earning a paycheck."

President Biden, White House statement

"Today, the percentage of people receiving unemployment insurance fell below 1 percent for the first time since 1969. This historic progress is the result of my economic plan to grow the economy from the bottom up and middle out."

President Biden, White House statement

Record gas prices could cause major issues during the summer travel period

The high price of gaosline continued today as the United States once again broke the all-time record price, with the average gallon of gasoline now costing $4.589. At current rates the average American household is expected to spend more than $5,000 per year on motor fuel, a staggering increase on the $2,800 predicted at the same point last year. 

This will be a particular concern as we head towards the summer travel period, when millions of Americans are expected to embark on long road trips. Not only will the high prices make this extremely expensive for travellers, but the imminent surge in demand could serve to push the price up even higher. 

High inflation slows the economic recovery

The United States fell dramatically into recession in 2020, due in large part to the restrictions imposed as a result of covid-19 and the disruption brought about to the global supply chain. This rocked investor confidence and it has taken two years for some businesses to return to pre-pandemic practices. 

However the rapid rate of inflation is now causing a major problem for investors after the markets were flooded with stimulus spending in recent years. President Biden has named inflation control as his top domestic priority, but his efforts are yet to have any real effect. 

Baby formula shortage worsens: Why is there a limit on buying infant formula?

US NEWS

Baby formula shortage worsens: Why is there a limit on buying infant formula?

For concered parents the recent shortage of baby formula products across the country has been a major cause for concern, with some forced to search for extortionately priced resale options online. In reponse to the situation many major retailers have imposed new purchasing restrictions on infant formula.

The shortage has been exacerbated by a product recall from top supplier Abbott Laboratories back in February that has reduced the supply significantly. Baby formula products, including Similac, Alimentum and EleCare, have been recalled owing to concerns about bacterial infections in a small number of infants who came into contact with the products.

Read more

Bitcoin price drop continues

The cryptocurrency collapse has continued with one Bitcoin now worth less than $30,000, a far cry from the record heights reached in 2021. Cryptocurrencies in general enjoyed a positive 18 months with solid growth across the board, but a variety of factors have served to push down the price in recent months. The fluctuating prices may be good for investors, who see the opportunity to take advantage of the uncertainty, but the rapid devaluation makes its future as a fully-fledged currency look less likely. 

Which countries have the highest rates of inflation?

President Biden is under severe pressure to address the high rate of inflation, but the United States is far from the only country to be suffering. Nations around the world have fallen victim the volatie economic climate and supply chain pressures across the world have effect the supply of various products, pushing up the price. 

What are today's gas prices in the US?

The average price of a gallon of gasoline has risen to $4.589 today, according to figures gathered by AAA. After more than a week of consistent gains the price is once again at a record high, causing major concerns for motorists and consumers alike. As we approach the summer months, when people are more likely to embark on long roadtrips, the cost could continue to rise with the high demand. 

Does working after one’s full retirement age increase Social Security benefits?

Latest News

Does working after one’s full retirement age increase Social Security benefits?

The age at which a worker can retire and receive their maximum Social Security benefit amount depends on the year they were born. At sixty-two, Social Security benefits can be claimed, but it is not until almost a decade later that the maximum benefit becomes available.

Read more

How can I check my Social Security entitlement?

The amount of money on offer from the Social Security Administration (SSA) varies from person to person, because your personal entitlement is a reflection of your working history and personal situation. However it can be difficult to calculate how much you are entitled to get, and to work out how best to maximise your earning potential and ensure youre all set for retirement. 

Fortunately the SSA offers a free-to-use online portal which shows your earnings history, allowing you to work out your future payment size...

Since April 2021, food prices have increased 10.8 percent

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that over the last twelve months, food prices have increased more than 10.8 percent. This represents the greatest year over year increase since 1980.

Some of the foods that saw the greatest increase at 14.3 percent include meats, poultry, fish, and eggs.

Imports of baby formula will serve as a bridge to this ramped up production, therefore, I am requesting you take all appropriate measures available to get additional safe formula into the country immediately.

Joe Biden, US president

Directing firms to prioritize and allocate the production of key infant formula inputs will help increase production and speed up in supply chains.

White House fact sheet, about the new measures

Defense Production Act invoked to increase baby formula production

The White House announced that President Joe Biden would use a Cold War-era law to require suppliers to “direct needed resources to infant formula manufacturers before any other customer who may have ordered that good.” 

It will include the priritising of formula production as well as licensing the Defense Department to purchase and fly formual that meets US standards to the country from abroad.

Baby formula shortage worsens: Why is there a limit on buying infant formula?

US NEWS

Baby formula shortage worsens: Why is there a limit on buying infant formula?

A number of major retailers in the United States have imposed new purchasing restrictions on infant formula in response to a worrying supply shortage.

Last month CVS said it was limiting both in-store and online purchases of baby formula to three per order, following a similar cap introduced by Walgreens in March. Kroger has opted for a four-item limit per customer while Target has also placed restrictions on order size.

The shortage has been exacerbated by a product recall from top supplier Abbott Laboratories back in February that has reduced the supply significantly. 

Read more

A new study showed just how much families needed the Child Tax Credit

The enhanced Child Tax Credit which was distributed last year as a part of the American Rescue Plan was a lifeline for many struggling families. Estimates on the impact of the credit show that child poverty was cut in half as a result of over 24 million more children, many of whom come from low-income families, becoming eligible to receive the benefit.

For those wondering the credit will be extended, such a prospect seems unlikely. There is currently very little movement on Capitol Hill surrounding the issue with much of the legislative focus set towards inflation, the War in Ukraine, and the draft opinion overturning Roe V Wade which was leaked earlier this month.

Members of Congress continue to call for the extension of the Child Tax Credit

In light of the baby formula shortage in the US, California Congresswomen Barbara Lee has called on Congress to extend the enhanced child tax credit another year.

The formula crisis has left low-income families extremely vulnerable as prices the product have surged around the country. For Lee, extending the credit would provide these families with a lifeline that could help them better compete in the market.

For more on the baby formula shortage, read our full coverage.

The high cost of oil, the key ingredient in gasoline, is driving these high pump prices for consumers. Even the annual seasonal demand dip for gasoline during the lull between spring break and Memorial Day, which would normally help lower prices, is having no effect this year.

Andrew Gross, AAA spokesperson

Will there be $6 gasoline this summer?

It is no secret that motorists and consumers in general are suffering under the weight of rapidly increasing gasoline prices, which has once again reached new height today. This morning AAA confirmed that the average price of a gallon of gasoline in the United States had risen to $4.567, nearly 50 cents higher than it was just a month earlier. 

As we approach the summer months, when Americans are most likely to embark on long holiday trips, pushing the demand up, it is thought that the average price could go even higher. Experts are now warning that a $6 gallon of gasoline could become the reality for millions of people in the coming months. 

Why is gas so expensive and how long will its price continue to rise?

US NEWS

Why is gas so expensive and how long will its price continue to rise?

Prices of fuel have been rising since the turn of the year. According to the AAA, the average price for a gallon of fuel was $3.28 in January, but it now stands at nearly $5. While it had been rising after the lows of the pandemic, the Russian war in Ukraine has caused a huge surge in prices.

While the national average has been greater than $4 since March, there were three midwestern states that were under $4 a gallon: Georgia, Kansas and Oklahoma. With price rises on Tuesday, these three are over the mark. Some drivers, like those in California, are paying over $6 for a gallon.

Read more

Every states records $4 gasoline average

For the first time, the average price of a gallon of gasoline exceeds $4 in every state. The price of motor fuel has soared in recent months, along with other products made using crude oil, in response to inflationary pressures and the trade sanctions on Russia. Americans all across the country are feeling the consequences at the pump and the situation looks like being a major factor in the upcoming midterm elections. 

Hello and welcome to AS USA's Financial News live blog for Thursday, 19 May 2022.

We will be bringing you all the investment and monetary news you need.

Still haven't received your tax refund? Do not worry, we have you covered on how to contact the IRS.

Cryptocurrency is seeing one of its largest decreases in years, with many long-term investors exiting the market, what does this mean for Bitcoin?

Gas prices are up around the country, a sign that while inflation began to slow in April, numbers could spike again in May.

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