Although millions of Americans have received COVID-19 stimulus payments to help blunt the impact of the novel coronavirus on family finances, the payments didn't go very far and lawmakers have spent weeks putting forth plans for a potential second stimulus check.
But for Americans counting on more money from Uncle Sam, things aren't looking good. In fact, there's three big signs that no further stimulus money is likely to be forthcoming.
1. Positive jobs numbers suggest economic recovery
Most economists predicted ongoing economic carnage in May, anticipating an additional 8 million employees would find themselves out of work along with the 20 million who lost their jobs in April.
But instead of an increase in the jobless rate, the U.S. instead added 2.5 million jobs and the unemployment rate fell from 14.7% in April to 13.3% last month. While that's still very high, it's far below the 20% unemployment number many experts were warning might happen in May. This good economic news sent the stock market soaring and could be the first promising sign of a fast economic recovery.
And while all of this is good news in general, it's bad news for those hoping for a second stimulus check. Direct payments are meant to help Americans through tough times, and lawmakers who were already on the fence about providing additional money may seize upon the possibility of economic recovery to suggest this type of aid simply isn't needed.
2. Lawmakers seem to be moving further away from compromise
A second stimulus payment would require buy-in from both political parties, and that was already a tall order with Republicans and Democrats far apart on whether additional COVID-19 relief should be focused on bolstering struggling households or incentivizing people to get back to work.
Sadly, there's little evidence that lawmakers are moving closer to some sort of compromise on the issue. In fact, with close to 60 House Democrats now pressing party leaders to include green energy priorities (such as help for the renewable energy sector) in another stimulus package even as Republicans discuss capping the size of the bill, the chances of consensus seem further away than ever.
3. Most states have begun opening up
At the end of March when the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed to provide various relief measures, including the stimulus payments, around three in every four Americans was under some type of lockdown order.
By contrast, by the end of May, every single state that had put a stay-at-home order in place was starting to lift restrictions. While the pace and process of reopening will differ from one place to another, the widespread easing of lockdown orders means life is returning to a "new normal" throughout most of the country.
Since most Americans are no longer going to be stuck at home, paying out more money in direct payments on top of the $2.4 trillion the federal government has already spent in coronavirus relief is likely to be a much harder sell -- especially for budget-conscious lawmakers worried about the long-range impact all these expenditures will have.
Don't count on another stimulus payment coming your way
While there's still a chance lawmakers will relent to pressure and adopt one of the proposals put forth for additional stimulus money, the odds of something passing in to law are a lot lower than they were just a few weeks ago. If unemployment continues to drop and there's no massive second wave of infections as more states open their doors, Americans can forget about an additional direct payment.
Without more stimulus money, it will be more important than ever to shore up your own financial situation by building a strong emergency fund and investing wisely so you're prepared for whatever the future holds.