President Joe Biden continued in his attempts to extend COVID-19-linked federal stimulus check payments to Americans. It is more than a year since the last of the federal stimulus payments ended with the enhanced Child Tax Credit. State stimulus checks continued on the other end with residents in a handful of states still in line to receive an inflation relief tax rebate or stimulus check in the first quarter of 2023.
The final federal stimulus check, the third Economic Impact Pyament went out in 2021 in the form of a direct account transfer or paper check mailed through the US Postal Service. However, for the latest round of economic troubles that Americans are facing, notably rising prices, there have been no such measures from the federal administration.
Fortunately close to two dozen states have stepped in with various forms of relief measures ranging from tax rebates, paper stimulus checks, direct bank transfers, sales tax waivers, and pre-paid debit cards.
The payments continue through 2022 with some states such as California and Colorado, timing their payments for the festive season. Many are also not aware that a handful of states are sending out stimulus checks that will continue into the second quarter of 2023. The amount of the check and the persons benefitting varies from state to state.
Americans Manage Economic Progress Despite High Inflation And Lack Of Stimulus Check In 2022
Despite the high inflation and lack of stimulus checks, employers in America have made steady progress and have managed to add a substantial number of jobs. Over 311,000 jobs were added in February. It is less than the huge gain made in January this year, but it is enough to keep up the pressure on the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates aggressively to contain the high prices.
The unemployment rate rose to 3.6% from a 53-year low of 3.4%. More Americans are on the lookout for jobs, but many are not finding the right ones. The report on Friday from the federal administration has clearly indicated that the job market in America remains fundamentally healthy and many employers are eager to bring in the new workforce. Jerome Powell, the Fed chairman, has informed Congress that the Fed Reserve would ratchet up its rate hike if signs pointed to persistently high inflation and a robust economy.
A robust job market has typically encouraged businesses to raise wages and pass on the high labor costs to customers through increased prices. The sizable job growth in February points to the continuation of the strengthening of the economy after having eased in 2022. Between October and December 2022, the average monthly job gains was a more modest 284,000 and have surged to a monthly average of 351,000 in the past three months.
Economists spoke of other pointers that suggested that while the job market remains heated up, there may be a better balance of employers’ needs for workers and the supply of unemployed people.
People are coming off the sidelines in increasing numbers seeking employment. This trend has made it easier for businesses to fill the millions of jobs that remain vacant since the pandemic hit American shores.
The proportion of Americans holding a job or are on the lookout for one has gone up for the third month in a row and has touched 62.5%. it is the highest level since the pandemic struck three years ago. But it continues to remain below the pre-pandemic level of 63.3%.
Biden’s Budget Plans To Boost Childcare Stimulus Checks
The 2024 fiscal budget unveiled by the US President would boost federal funding for child care and education for young children. The amount is expected to be billions of dollars. It would ensure that students get free preschool across America. Around 4M 4-year-olds are expected to benefit, the White House revealed.
The proposal will go on the floor of Congress on Thursday. Biden revisits some of the items that were part of the US president’s 2023 budget proposal that was removed during negotiations with Congress. Prospects for passage could turn out to be much harder this year as the Republicans have finally managed to get a majority in the lower house, even though it is slim.
Joe Biden has consistently argued that lack of access to affordable child care was the key factor that was forcing women to stay away from the workforce. The White House has cited a Boston Consulting Group prediction that the economic output of the nation could see a drop of over $290B a year starting 2030 if the government does not adder critical care shortages. Recent polls revealed that 55% of households are finding it difficult to afford childcare and 21% have cited challenges that are related specifically to the cost of childcare.
Officials at the White House have said that President Biden continues to push for a bigger budget to tackle the “care economy” of the nation. But he has also promised to take executive action to push through his agenda. This includes the announcement by the Commerce Department that firms on the lookout for funds from the manufacturing and research program for semiconductors worth $52B would have to share in the excess profits and also detail their plans on providing affordable child care.
The budget announced by Joe Biden is expected to contain the expanded Child Tax Credit stimulus check that he has advocated for years. There would also be other measures for working families, revealed administrative officials.
The proposal to increase spending and the renewed push for the expanded version of the Child Tax Credit was welcomed by the leading Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, Rep. Rosa DeLauro. She said that she would work towards making the stimulus check permanent. In a statement, she said that together these programs will lower the cost for working families. It will also provide financial stability both to the middle and the working class.
The proposal by Joe Biden for 2024 includes $22.1B for early care and education programs. This is up by 10.5% from the enacted levels of 2023 and includes $9B for federal block grants.