The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provided stimulus checks to most American families, but sadly the payments were fairly small and many Americans have spent them already.
Those facing unemployment and other financial hardships during the 2020 recession are likely waiting eagerly for lawmakers to come to the rescue with more stimulus money. Unfortunately, the chances of that happening dropped dramatically at the beginning of July, and there are 4.8 million reasons why. Here's what you need to know.
4.8 million is the number of jobs added in June
On July 2, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on the jobs numbers for the month of June. The data showed there were 4.8 million jobs created during the month.
With more people headed back to work, the unemployment rate dropped from 13.3% to 11.1%. And those numbers may actually underestimate how much things improved over the month, as the BLS had to correct a data-collection error from the prior month that had resulted in an undercount of the number of workers classified as unemployed. With those miscounted workers now correctly labeled as out-of-work, the number of people rehired had to be even greater to show a drop in the number of jobless Americans.
The July 2 report was the second in a row to show unemployment dropping. The rate of workers without jobs also declined in May, even though many economists had expected millions more people would find themselves out of work that month. And when May's positive jobs numbers were released, some lawmakers who had been talking about the possibility of a second stimulus check started to pull back, indicating the sense of urgency was gone and perhaps more widespread relief wasn't really needed.
Now, with a second consecutive month of job growth, those lawmakers wary of spending more money to authorize a second payment have even more reason to opt out of signing onto a second stimulus check. And since compromise is hard in Washington, the likelihood of lawmakers reaching a deal on who should be eligible for more stimulus money when the jobs numbers suggest recovery rather than a deepening crisis isn't very high.
Don't count on more COVID-19 money
With lawmakers wary of passing another stimulus bill now presented with another excuse not to act, the chances are higher than ever that you'll be left without additional COVID-19 money. Unfortunately, many families are still struggling. If you're one of them, there are other sources of aid available, including unemployment benefits and other types of federal and state aid.
If you're doing OK right now, it's still important to make sure your finances are in shape to weather a recession, even without the extra money a stimulus check could provide. Aim to boost your emergency fund with your spare cash, look for spending cuts to make, and ensure you're invested wisely.
While you can contact your representative to let them know you believe another stimulus check is needed, you can't control what Washington D.C. does. But you can take control of your own financial situation, so take these steps today to ensure you're as ready as possible for troubled economic times, even if lawmakers let you down.