Stimulus Update: Fourth Check Less Likely as Weekly Jobless Claims Hit Pandemic-Era Low

A young woman sitting across the table from a man in an office for a job interview.

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It's becoming increasingly clear that a fourth stimulus check is off the table this year.

Will Americans see a fourth stimulus check hit their bank accounts this year? That's becoming less and less likely.

When the last round of stimulus payments was approved back in March, the jobless rate was higher than it is today. But since summertime, the number of new unemployment claims being filed on a weekly basis has been on a decline. And for the week ended Oct. 23, newly-filed jobless claims came in at just 281,000, representing the lowest number of weekly claims on record since the start of the pandemic.

Meanwhile, the number of continuing unemployment claims dropped as well to 2.243 million. And all of this is a clear indication that the economy is much stronger now than it was earlier on this year, when a third stimulus round was made available.

There's still some aid coming in

Though it's unlikely that a fourth stimulus check will go out this year, some Americans may still be in line for two windfalls -- their November and December Child Tax Credit payments. The Child Tax Credit has been expanded for the 2021 tax year, and half of the credit is being paid in the form of monthly installments.

Those monthly payments began in July and are scheduled to continue through the end of the year. And those eligible for the two remaining payments should see them arrive on or around the 15th of each month.

Carving out your own stimulus

If you're not eligible for the Child Tax Credit, the idea of not getting a fourth stimulus check anytime soon may be disappointing. If that's the case, you may need to take steps to carve out your own stimulus.

One option in this regard is to get yourself a side hustle on top of your main job. You can use that extra money to catch up on bills you're struggling to pay, dig out of debt, or even pad your savings account so you have a cushion for unplanned expenses.

Even if you are getting two more payments under the boosted Child Tax Credit, you may want to consider getting a side gig nonetheless. Though the expanded credit has already done a great job of helping many families attain more financial security, at this point, it's looking less likely that the enhanced version will be here to stay for the long haul. If you've grown reliant on the extra money you've been getting from the Child Tax Credit, then a side job could take the place of that income.

The silver lining

If you were banking on getting a fourth stimulus check, the above news may be a blow. But remember, the reason a fourth stimulus round is less likely stems from the fact that the economy has improved substantially. And that's not a bad thing at all. These days, many Americans have far more job security than they did earlier on in the pandemic, and while a fourth stimulus check would've been a nice thing to see in 2021, a revived economy is an even better one.

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