The number of people claiming unemployment benefits in the US last week hit a new record of more than 6 million as coronavirus measures took hold. Figures from the US labor department showed the number of claims in the week ending 28 March climbed to 6.65 million. The number of claims – which previously hit a record last week – have already far outstripped the levels seen during the last recession, when they peaked at 665,000.
The U.S. Senate on Wednesday unanimously backed a $2 trillion bill aimed at helping unemployed workers and industries hurt by the coronavirus epidemic, as well as providing billions of dollars to buy urgently needed medical equipment. The rescue package – which would be the biggest ever passed by Congress – includes a $500 billion fund to help hard-hit industries and a comparable amount for direct payments of up to $3,000 apiece to millions of U.S. families.
With roughly a third of the world under some form of lockdown, the White House and Senate leaders reached agreement on a landmark $2 trillion stimulus package to combat the economic impact of coronavirus. President Donald Trump is pushing for the country to get back to business by April 12, Easter Sunday, when he said he would like to see churches full of people.
The US has cut interest rates to almost zero and launched a $700bn stimulus program in a bid to protect the economy from the effect of coronavirus. It is part of a co-ordinated action announced on Sunday in the UK, Japan, eurozone, Canada, and Switzerland. In a news conference Fed chairman Jerome Powell said the pandemic was having a “profound” impact on the economy.
The new chairman of the Federal Reserve, Jerome Powell, made his public debut Tuesday, saying his expectations for domestic economic growth within the year have increased while maintaining a cautious tone. Powell told the House Financial Services Committee that he is not worried by recent stock issues and is committed to ‘clearly explaining’ Fed thinking.
The House of Representatives approved a measure to relax banking rules which supporters say will help banks grow. The measure frees banks from strict rules that were enacted as part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank law to prevent another financial crisis. Critics of the move believe it will cause a return to reckless lending behavior.
Ignoring warnings from progressives a decade after the 2008 financial crisis, sixteen Democrats joined with Republicans to advance a banking deregulation bill that is expected to pass soon. Massachusetts Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren said the bill, which will rewrite parts of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act and intends to provide relief to small and midsize banks, ‘puts the entire economy at risk.’
In a deal intended to end a teacher’s strike leaving schools in West Virginia closed for nine days, Governor Jim Justice signed a bill on Tuesday granting a 5% pay raise to state employees, including striking teachers and school staff, the first pay hike for West Virginia teachers since 2014. Schools are set to reopen Wednesday.
U.S. saw household incomes rising and poverty declined for the second year running in 2016. From 2015 to 2016, the median income hit $59,039 surpassing the previous peak in 1999 according to the statistics by the Census Bureau. The growth is 3.2 percent when adjusted for the inflation. The number of people in poverty fell by 2.5 million over the same period.
The Federal Reserve increased its interest rates, Wednesday, saying the strengthening United States economy should lead to growth and lower unemployment next year. The decision to make the third increase this year is a positive sign of the US and global economic momentum. Federal Reserve Chair Janet L. Yellen said, ‘the US economy is performing well.’