Low Employment Rates: Could it Affect Stimulus Checks?

Only 194,000 new jobs were added in September, according to a report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Could this be the reason for rejuvenating the highly anticipated fourth stimulus check?  

Among the unemployed, the number of permanent job losers declined by 236,000 to 2.3 million in September but is 953,000 higher than in February 2020. The number of persons on temporary layoff, at 1.1 million, changed little in September.

This measure is down considerably from the high of 18.0 million in April 2020 but is 374,000 above the February 2020 level. The number of reentrants to the labor force decreased by 198,000 in September to 2.3 million, after increasing by a similar amount in August.

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The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) decreased by 496,000 in September to 2.7 million but is 1.6 million higher than in February 2020. The long-term unemployed accounted for 34.5 percent of the total unemployed in September. The number of persons jobless less than 5 weeks, at 2.2 million, changed little.

Because of this, some lawmakers and progressives have called for more benefits for the unemployed. However, the prospect of a fourth stimulus check has long since received lukewarm response in the House. 

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It seems as though negotiations for further benefits have stopped, but new programs seem promising. As of now, the Biden administration has been focusing on the Build Back Better plan. Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal said, “Last year, stimulus checks alone lifted 11.7 million Americans out of poverty. That’s a big deal. Now, imagine what we can accomplish bypassing the Build a Back Better plan, which will deliver affordable child care, universal pre-k, paid leave, and so much more. Let’s do this.”

The BLS, however, also says in their report that there might have been a ‘misclassification’ of workers in their published statistics. “As in previous months, some workers affected by the pandemic who should have been classified as unemployed on temporary layoff were instead misclassified as employed but not at work.

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However, the share of responses that may have been misclassified was highest in the early months of the pandemic and has been considerably lower in recent months.”

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