There’s a reason lawmakers quickly sent stimulus checks to Americans’ bank accounts earlier in the pandemic. The unemployment situation was so serious that it was easy to argue in favor of the three separate sets of aid that were paid.
In March 2020, when the CARES law was signed, jobs were cut left and right, to the point that unemployment hit an all-time high a month later. And when lawmakers approved a second stimulus check in December 2020, unemployment was still rampant and COVID-19 vaccines had yet to be rolled out to the general public.
In March 2021, lawmakers approved a third check. At this point, things had improved somewhat since 2020 economically. And while vaccines were available at the time, the supply was limited. This meant that many people simply couldn’t return to work, even if they wanted to, due to health issues.
But the economic situation today looks very different. And we’ve come a long way with vaccines, too. Not only are fewer Americans filing unemployment claims, but just about anyone aged 5 and over who wants a COVID-19 vaccine can get one. And that makes it harder to argue for a direct fourth stimulus check – especially in light of the fact that weekly jobless claims have just hit an impressive milestone.
Weekly jobless claims have just fallen dramatically
Last week, economists expected 260,000 new jobless claims to be filed. Instead, the new claims stood at 199,000. Not only is this an incredibly low number in the context of recent claims, but it is also the lowest number of weekly claims filed since 1969.
Now, this number may be adjusted upward after the data is sorted. It is common for the Department of Labor to release unemployment figures and change those data after the fact. Nonetheless, the fact that weekly claims have reached less than 200,000 underlines the fact that the economy is not in bad shape at all.
Certainly, the decision to send stimulus checks will not depend on a single week of unemployment data. What is more important is the fact that new jobless claims have been steadily declining in recent months.
What about inflation?
Inflation can hit some consumers hard. But it would be unusual for lawmakers to push forward stimulus aid to combat a period of rising cost of living.
Plus, hopefully the price increases will subside sooner rather than later. One of the main reasons inflation is rampant today is that the demand for consumer goods has exceeded the available supply. Once supply chains are able to catch up, prices should stabilize.
Now, we don’t know exactly when that will happen, and unfortunately soaring inflation could last until 2022. But as long as the unemployment situation continues to move in a positive direction, there is no reason to. expect another government stimulus anytime soon.