Stimulus Update: Are There Signs Another Stimulus Check Is on the Way?

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  • Lawmakers have not issued stimulus checks since early 2021.
  • While there are no immediate plans to send out stimulus aid, things could change in the coming year.

Americans are eager to see more stimulus aid. Will they soon get their way?

There's a reason Americans have been desperate for stimulus aid this year. Inflation has been raging since mid-2021, and it's driven the cost of living upward in a very big way. Over the past year and a half, consumers have continuously had to dip into their savings and rack up credit card debt to stay afloat -- and they're tired of it.

Unfortunately, there are no near-term plans to issue another round of stimulus checks. The last stimulus round that got approved came in March of 2021 -- a time when unemployment numbers were still very high and the economy was on shaky ground. This year's economy has been very different. Jobs have been plentiful and unemployment levels have been low.

But there are signs that things are changing in that regard. And if the unemployment situation gets bad enough, it could fuel a round of stimulus aid after all.

Unemployment numbers are climbing

For the week ended Nov. 19, new unemployment claims rose to 240,000. Now when we compare that to the number of unemployment claims that were filed during the early stages of the pandemic, that 240,000 total is actually pretty negligible. But it does represent a large uptick from the previous week, and it's also the highest weekly total since Aug. 13.

Meanwhile, a number of large companies have announced plans for layoffs. Some have already even started the process of downsizing staff in an effort to conserve costs ahead of a potential recession.

If unemployment levels continue to rise on a national level, it could make the case for another stimulus round. It could also potentially drive lawmakers to boost unemployment benefits (as they did during the pandemic) so that those who become jobless are able to make ends meet.

Let's hope things don't take a turn for the worse

Higher unemployment numbers could very well spur another stimulus round in 2023. But that's actually not something people should hope for.

The jobless rate would need to rise substantially from where it is today to warrant more stimulus checks. And if we get to that point, it means the economy will have slumped to a level that could hurt a lot of people.

Furthermore, even if the national jobless rate does pick up in a meaningful way, we're not guaranteed to see another stimulus round. Lawmakers have gotten their share of criticism over their stimulus policies in 2021, as those are believed to have contributed to the problem of soaring inflation. So even though lawmakers have issued stimulus checks in the past during periods of high unemployment, they may be more conservative in their approach given the backlash of 2021's very expensive American Rescue Plan.

All told, there are signs that unemployment levels are picking up. Whether that leads to more stimulus aid is yet to be determined, but it's also an unsettling sign. And so rather than wait for a stimulus check, Americans should do what they can to reduce their spending, boost their savings, and generally shore up their finances in case economic conditions deteriorate.

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