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USA finance and payments news summary | 7 May 2022

Update:
HAMILTON, OHIO - MAY 6: President Joe Biden speaks at United Performance Metals in Hamilton, Ohio on May 06, 2022. (Photo by Megan Jelinger/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

US Financial News: live updates

Headlines: 7 May 2022

- Unemployment holds at 3.6 percnet in April, with the economy adding 428,000 jobs

- Proposals to send gas stimulus checks and tax rebates to residents in the US stall in Congress

- A deep-dive into what theChild Tax Credit will look like in 2022

- Maine to begin sending $850 stimulus checks to residents in late June.

- President Biden still considering plans to forgive large quantities of student loan debt.

Helpful links & Information

- Accessing Disability Insurance: a guide

- Average Social Security monthly benefit,revised for 2022.

Risk of recession up, according to Goldman Sachs

The risk of the recession is up compared to the this time last year, says Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon. The financial expert has said that inflation the economy is real and that the risk of the economy heading into a recession is a real concern that investors should begin to take seriously.

This comes after Deutsche Bank has made a similar prediction, highlighting investor worry. However, there is no clear consensus, as the Federal Reserve has said that the strong economic recovery from the pandemic will help weather inflationary pressures in the market.

Unemployment held at 3.6 percent in April

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has released the April Employment Report which showed that the rate of people without a job remained unchanged last month. Standing at 3.6 percent, the economy did add over 420,000 jobs, "led by gains in leisure and hospitality, in manufacturing, and in transportation and warehousing."

Both the labor force participation rate (62.2 percent) and the employment-population ratio (60.0 percent) did not move from their March levels, and the agency noted that compared to February 2020, the late remains 1.2 percent lower.

Stimulus check gas: proposals and what could happen with them

Latest News

Stimulus check gas: proposals and what could happen with them

Gas prices in March reached record highs as the Russian invasion of Ukraine began to place major stress on international supply chains. Following the rapid increase in prices, inflation ticked up 1.2 percent as transportation costs across the market spiked.

Responding to these increases, various members of Congress introduced two major gas stimulus check or rebate bills to send direct aid to families to bring down gasoline costs.

What are they and what are their chances of passing? We took a look

Who has the cheapest electricity rates in Texas?

US NEWS

Who has the cheapest electricity rates in Texas?

As the energy crisis hits millions of households across the United States, families are seeking out the best rates in their area. 

Find out more

Big oil pumping windfall profits into investors and CEOs, not production

Gas prices have remained high since surging after Russia's invasion of Ukriane, which has seen crude oil remain above $100 consistantly for the first time since 2013. This has been a boon to oil companies which saw collectively a profit of $36.6 billion in the first quarter. Normally oil producers would use that extra cash to increase output, but his time around the windfall is being funneled to shareholders through buybacks and executive bonuses. 

This bodes ill for energy prices in the future as well as consumers, with the average price of gas at $4.30 on Saturday approaching its peak in March this year of $4.33.

Better than expected jobs report pushes stocks down on fears of Fed hiking rates

After a wild day of trading on Friday, the main Wall Street indexes all finished down, extending losses from previous day. The sell off was triggered by a better than expected jobs report for April causing worries the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates more agressively at its next meeting in June.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 428,000 new jobs created last month. That was the 12th straight month that more than 400,000 jobs were added and the 16th straight month of job growth. However, investors worry that the little changed labor participation rate could signal persistent inflation.

Both the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 registered a fifth straight weekly loss, their longest losing streaks in nearly ten and eleven years respectively. 

Founder and chief executive of Infrastructure Capital Management in New York Jay Hatfield said "Ninety-five percent of the driver of the market right now is long-term interest rates."

Child Tax Credit: from success story to disappointment

It’s often said that every crisis begets an opportunity, and while it’s eminently reasonable to wish for less distressing times, the covid-19 pandemic helped to illuminate numerous frailties within our society, from public health institutions to the labor market to voting infrastructure. It turned out that there was a lot to fix; President Joe Biden ran on fixing quite a bit of it, and Democrats enacted some policies that achieved groundbreaking results. That’s why it’s so disappointing to see some of these hard-won gains get reversed.

One reversal in particular that stands out is the expanded child tax credit, or CTC, which Congress passed as part of 2021’s American Rescue Plan Act and failed to extend at the end of the year. 

Jason Linkins has a look into the changing mood.

More manufactured employment aids Ohio push

President Joe Biden has boasted of a U.S. manufacturing surge and introduced a new small business program in the key swing state of Ohio during his sixth visit there as president Biden was buoyed by strong numbers early on Friday that showed the U.S. added 428,000 jobs in April, more than expected and the 12th straight month of job gains in excess of 400,000.

Manufacturing has seen the largest 15-month job gain in 15 years, he noted.

Californian power struggle

California energy officials issued a sober forecast for the state's electrical grid, saying it lacks sufficient capacity to keep the lights on this summer and beyond if heatwaves, wildfires or other extreme events take their toll.

The update from leaders from three state agencies and the office of Governor Gavin Newsom comes in response to a string of challenges with the ambitious transition away from fossil fuels, including rolling blackouts during a summer heat wave in 2020.

Monthly checks in Baltimore

"We know that folks have been struggling in Baltimore for far too long, but even more so after covid-19," Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott said to Business Insider, adding: "Our lower income residents, particularly our young parents, have faced the worst of the pandemic and the economic fallout, and they really need this now more than ever." 

Baltimore is the latest city to establish a guaranteed-income program, joining a wave of areas handing out no-strings-attached checks. 

Should student debt be cancelled?

'I’ve always been against canceling student debt', writes David Brooks for the New York Times. 'My main argument has been that it benefits the affluent more than the poor. After accounting for the value of an education and the effects of student debt relief programs, a Brookings Institution analysis found that the wealthiest 20 percent of households owe almost a third of all student debt. The bottom 20 percent owe only 8 percent.

'Anybody with a degree already owns an incredibly valuable resource — a college education. Adults with a bachelor’s degree generally earn about $1 million more over their career than people with just high school degrees.'

Read his full opinion piece below.

Dollars

Investors fear continued inflation

"The solid jobs number today confirms the economy is on solid footing. Earnings have been strong, the employment backdrop is strong. There will likely not be a recession this year, which is a good thing," said Ryan Detrick, chief market strategist for LPL Financial.

"But the uncertainty over a 40-year-high inflation and ... a hawkish Fed are still what investors are faced with the remainder this year."

The Labor Department's report showed nonfarm payrolls increased by 428,000 jobs in April, versus expectations of 391,000 job additions, underscoring the economy's strong fundamentals despite a contraction in gross domestic product in the first quarter.

Jerome

Traders expecting a 75 basis point hike at the US central bank's June meeting

Most traders are expecting a 75 basis point hike at the U.S. central bank's June meeting, despite Fed chief Jerome Powell ruling that out.

"The market is focusing on two things: the expected increase in interest rates by the Fed over the next two or three meetings and quantitative tightening, which is going to have a bigger impact than rate hikes," said Fall Ainina, director of research at James Investments.

"There's a lot of volatility in the market, it is going up and down depending on what kind of piece of information you are getting."

Pelosi

US House to set minimum annual pay for staff at $45,000

U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House will set a minimum annual pay for its staff at $45,000, months after a non-profit report found that over 12% of congressional staffers did not have a living wage.

"I am pleased to announce that ..... the House will for the first time ever set the minimum annual pay for staff at $45,000," Pelosi said in a letter to lawmakers dated Friday.

The step would go into effect from September, she added. A report from a non-profit earlier this year found that one in eight congressional staffers in Washington, DC, are not paid a living wage.

The report had compared staff salaries in Congress to the living wage in Washington, D.C., which is $42,610 for an adult without children, according to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Wall St

Wall Street slides as investors fear inflation

U.S. stock indexes fell on Friday as investors worried over soaring Treasury yields and the prospect of more Fed rate hikes.

"The solid jobs number today confirms the economy is on solid footing. Earnings have been strong, the employment backdrop is strong. There will likely not be a recession this year, which is a good thing," said Ryan Detrick, chief market strategist for LPL Financial.

"But the uncertainty over a 40-year-high inflation and ... a hawkish Fed are still what investors are faced with the remainder this year."

Biden

Biden signs a new $150 million weapons package for Ukraine

U.S. President Joe Biden signed a new $150 million weapons package for Ukraine on Friday, providing additional artillery munitions, radar and other equipment in the latest in a series of transfers to help Kyiv repel Russia's invasion.

"Today, the United States is continuing our strong support for the brave people of Ukraine as they defend their country against Russia's ongoing aggression," Biden said in a statement.

Newsome

California needs more power

California energy officials on Friday issued a sober forecast for the state's electrical grid, saying it lacks sufficient capacity to keep the lights on this summer and beyond if heatwaves, wildfires or other extreme events take their toll.

The update from leaders from three state agencies and the office of Governor Gavin Newsom comes in response to a string of challenges with the ambitious transition away from fossil fuels, including rolling blackouts during a summer heat wave in 2020.

Zelensky

G7 leaders, Ukraine's Zelenskiy to hold talks on Sunday

Group of Seven (G7) leaders will hold talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Sunday after U.S. President Joe Biden earlier this week said they would discuss possible additional actions in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Talks will focus on the war's latest developments, efforts to bolster Ukraine and ways to demonstrate "continued G7 unity in our collective response, including by imposing severe costs for Putin’s war," a spokesperson for the White House's National Security Council said on Monday.

The leaders of the G7 countries, which include the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Japan, Canada and Italy, will hold their virtual meeting with Zelenskiy on Sunday morning, the spokesperson added.

Biden

Biden touts manufacturing in midterms battleground of Ohio

President Joe Biden boasted on Friday of a U.S. manufacturing surge, seeking to change a Republican narrative that the economy is in turmoil under his watch ahead of November elections that could play a crucial role in determining control of Congress.

The president, a Democrat, announced during a trip to Ohio an initiative to encourage large companies to adopt an emerging technology known as additive manufacturing, a senior administration official said.

After touring United Performance Metals, a metal manufacturer near Cincinnati, Biden said the initiative and others will help bury the idea of a "Rust Belt," a term used to describe dead manufacturing cities.

Driven by 3D printing, the technology allows complex shapes to be built up in layers from particles of plastics or metal. It is viewed by the administration as a sort of innovation that will enable U.S. manufacturers to flourish and create jobs.

The initiative, dubbed AM Forward, is a voluntary program. Companies sign a public commitment to increase use of the technology and also rely on small- to medium-sized U.S.-based supply companies.

GE Aviation, Siemens Energy, Pantheon and Lockheed Martin are the initial participants, the official said.

IRS reminds taxpayers of their rights

Each and every taxpayer has a set of fundamental rights they should be aware of when dealing with the IRS. One can explore his/her rights and the Internal Revenue Service's obligations to protect them here.

Hello and welcome to our live feed for Saturday 7 May with all the latest leading finance news from the US and across the world.