Enhanced unemployment benefits, which were put in place during the beginning of the pandemic, have now come to an end. More than 8 million people will lose all benefits and another 2.7 million will see weekly checks reduced by $300, according to an estimate by The Century Foundation. There are a record 10 million job openings in the nation; however, experts do not expect employment numbers to soar. While consumers continue to feel increasing inflation pressures, Republicans are quick to point a finger at President Biden’s economic agenda.
CNN Politics/Tami Luhby, CNN
Jobless Americans left scrambling after pandemic unemployment benefits end
April Stokes wants to go back to work.
An optician by trade, Stokes was employed at Henry Ford OptimEyes until the coronavirus struck and school closed for her two young children.
The family has been able to ride out the pandemic thanks to expanded federal unemployment benefits, which provided them with $1,152 every two weeks — much less than Stokes was making before, but enough to survive.
Now, however, that vital lifeline has ended. Stokes isn’t worried about her ability to find a new job, but finding one that can accommodate her children’s schedules will be “next to impossible,” she says. Child care in the Detroit suburb where she lives is severely limited, she said, and the nanny she trusted to pick up the kids in the afternoon prior to the pandemic is no longer available.
“The government is not leaving us with any options,” said Stokes, noting that officials are pushing people back to work while telling them that the Delta variant remains a concern. “There are a lot of single moms out here that are really panicking right now and don’t know what to do.”
Nearly 18 months after Congress came to the rescue of jobless Americans, its historic expansion of the nation’s unemployment benefits system expired nationwide this weekend. Lawmakers, who extended the three pandemic programs in December and March, are not expected to renew them again.
A key component of the relief effort was a federal weekly supplement for out-of-work Americans. Initially, the jobless received a $600-a-week boost from April through July of 2020. Congress then revived the enhancement in late December but reduced it to $300 a week.
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NBC News/Teaganne Finn
Republicans keen on hammering Biden on inflation as the White House projects hike
Consumers across the country are feeling the pain, and not just at the pump, as prices on everyday conveniences reach new levels — which Republicans say is a direct result of President Joe Biden’s economic agenda.
The finger-pointing by the GOP began with the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill the president signed in March and now a $3.5 trillion social safety net bill, which overcame a key procedural motion in the House last week after a last-minute clash between Speaker Nancy Pelosi and centrist House Democrats.
Since the beginning of Biden’s presidency and more recently with his economic agenda advancing, Republicans have taken to using inflation as a rallying cry.
Friday’s disappointing job numbers are likely to only fuel the Republican argument that the economy is not responding well to federal stimulus.
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Reuters via Fox Business/Kevin Buckland
Dollar near one-month low on bets for later Fed taper
The dollar languished near a one-month low versus major peers on Monday, as investors pushed back expectations for when the Federal Reserve will begin tapering its massive stimulus.
The dollar index, which measures the currency against six rivals, edged 0.05% higher to 92.155, after dipping to 91.941 for the first time since Aug. 4 on Friday, when a closely watched U.S. labor report came out much weaker than expected.
The euro was flat at $1.18775 after matching the highest level since June 29 at $1.1909 at the end of last week. The single currency has been supported by expectations the European Central Bank, which meets Thursday, is close to tapering its own stimulus program.
The greenback edged 0.1% higher to 109.79 yen, still meandering in the middle of its trading range of the past two months.
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