Some American households are getting stimulus checks worth $600 that is in time for the Holidays. This so-called surprise stimulus will be made available to qualified employees in a certain range of industries, that are particularly impacted both physically and financially by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Stimulus checks for these folks
This form of financial aid is said to encompass a $700 million program helping both meatpackers and farmworkers will including the checks bearing the above-mentioned amount. Further, this was made known back in September by Agriculture Secretary and former Governor of Iowa, Tom Vilsack.
It is said that employees who played an important role in this ongoing global health crisis are bound to get financial aid, including those workers who are most of the time directly impacted by the pandemic which includes factory and grocery store workers, The East County Gazette reports,
Vilsack pointed out, though, during a conference call a general overview of the said plan. The secretary said that the new checks were deemed as a reflection of the significant nature of the amount of work performed by those workers during the pandemic.
Instead of acquiring these stimulus checks from the Internal Revenue Service, the workers can have them from either the state, local government agencies, and even non-profit.
It was also learned that the USDA is planning to pay $700 million to compensate workers who ran into some unanticipated costs as this includes taking unpaid leaves and purchasing their PPE.
Approximately, a chunk amounting to $20 million will be sent out to grocery store employees as this can be credited to the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021.
Black and blue just like the rest
Just like the rest, the food and agriculture sector took a significant beating during the pandemic as it is still felt to this day. Americans have depended mainly on them just to keep the United States economy afloat.
The United Food and Commercial Workers union revealed the Covid-19 virus has taken the lives of 132 meatpackers, not to mention about 22,000 of them have been exposed to it. For the uninitiated, the collective represents approximately 80 percent of pork, beef, and poultry workers across the U.S.
The US Job Market Does Not Match Democrats’ Worries Of Omicron
The Biden administration entered the first week of February in what has become its default mode of operation: expecting bad news.
Loss Of Over 300,000 Private Jobs In January
The White House cautioned that the figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics on January’s job numbers would be shocking. Reporters were taught to put an unsatisfactory report in context by mentioning the omicron wave’s transient effects, which the company believed had slowed hiring. President Joe Biden’s team, on the other hand, had reason to believe that no amount of nuance would be enough to mask what they expected to be the second straight poor employment report. On Wednesday, ADP, a payroll processing company, predicted a loss of over 300,000 private jobs in January, far fewer than the Dow Jones estimate of weak but positive employment growth.
However, when the numbers came in on Friday, these concerns were unfounded. According to the BLS, private nonfarm payrolls did not only fail to decrease in January; they actually increased by 467,000 jobs. Almost every industry expected to be hit worst by the pandemic grew, from bars and restaurants to professional services, transportation, and even retail sales, which typically suffer after the holiday shopping frenzy. According to the BLS, the number of workers increased by 1.4 million. More good news: December’s job growth was raised up from 199,000 to a staggering 510,000 jobs, according to the report.
To summarise, Covid was not the economic drag the White House projected from its discovery in the final week of November to its current fall. This is due in part to the fact that the information ecology in which mainstream news consumers marinade has maintained a consistent drumbeat of negativity for the past eight weeks.
By late December, there was strong consensus that the omicron infection outbreak, although milder, was contagious enough to impair social and economic activities in a way that was indistinguishable from the deadliest days of 2020. According to a CNN report from America’s dark blue metropolitan enclaves on December 21, city dwellers were withdrawing to the shelter of their residences once again, and businesses were closing as staff phoned in sick. No one wanted a return to lockdowns, but a “voluntary suspension of activity—a soft lockdown, essentially,” as The Atlantic’s Sarah Zhang put it, would sweep the country whether we liked it or not.
US Businesses Shed 301,000 Employees In January Amidst The Record Breaking Omicron Wave
As a consequence of a record omicron wave that kept individuals out of work and disrupted recruiting plans, private U.S. businesses cut employment by 301,000 employees in January, the worst decline since the epidemic began, reports marketwatch.com.
The Wall Street Journal interviewed economists who predicted a 200,000 rise.
The fall was the first in 13 months and the greatest since April 2020, when the United States lost about 20 million jobs amid a pandemic-era economic lockdown.
ADP is often used as a forecasting tool for the US Labor Department’s wider employment survey, which is released a few days later. During the pandemic, however, the two reports were frequently at odds, and ADP was less accurate as a predictor.
Nonetheless, due to the omicron issues, economists estimate the government’s official figure to be similarly low on Friday. Some even expect a complete fall.
Businesses are scrambling to fill a record number of available positions and meet the high demand for their products and services. According to a federal poll, there are about 11 million job openings in the United States.
The issue is that there aren’t enough people to fill all of the open positions. Several million employees who left the workforce earlier in the pandemic haven’t yet returned, and many are unlikely to do so in the future. Coronavirus epidemics have also made it more difficult for some people to return to work, such as women and caregivers.
The good news is that the Omicron is quickly fading, and industry leaders predict that recruiting and employment will soon restore.
Almost Every Organization Suffered A Major Setback In January
In January, almost every major sector of the economy suffered a setback.
Small businesses that primarily provide services, such as hotels, cafeterias, restaurants, entertainment facilities, public transportation, and so on, saw the greatest drop in employment. 144,000 jobs were lost by small businesses.
Due to business constraints or fear of contracting the coronavirus, customers stayed away.
During the omicron surge, major organizations lost 98,000 jobs and midsized enterprises lost 59,000. According to second government data, roughly 9 million individuals missed work in January, a recent record.
Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal predicted that the US Labor Department’s tally would show a gain of 150,000 new jobs in January before the ADP data. These data include the number of people employed by the government.
“There is no telling how close ADP’s initial January estimate will prove to be to the figures that will be reported by the Labor Department on Friday,” said chief economist Joshua Shapiro of MFR Inc.
Social Security Beneficiaries Will See A 5.9% Benefit Hike In 2022
Due to its annual cost-of-living adjustment, existing Social Security recipients will see their gross benefits increase by 5.9% in 2022.
More than 50 million people in the U.S. are, as of late, relying on Social Security for a part of their retirement income. When you also consider that about 180 million have paid into the system, it’s evident that the program is serving some foundation to the majority of the people’s retirement plans.
Albeit such a fact, its future is pretty much at risk. An example of it is Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen indicating its payments were at risk if the debt ceiling didn’t get an increase early this year. To that end, folks should expect these from the program next year.
It’s already a known fact that the highest cost of living adjustment (5.9 percent) in 40 years is scheduled to go live next year. Despite being deemed such, it may well seem that it won’t be sufficient to keep up the overall inflation that we endured this year. Additionally, according to Motley Fool, the Bureau of Labor Statistics stated that the overall Consumer Price Index was upped by 6.8 percent in the 12 months through November this year.
Social Security funds going gone
Another thing to point out is that, albeit the increased tax burden in funding Social Security, simply under the calendar advancing a year, the date that the program’s trust funds are expected to run dry will be earlier than anticipated (projected to be emptied by 2034).
High income=Higher taxes
Next year, the wage base on which taxes from the program are levied will also be upped to $147,000 from $142,800. This is a $4,200 increase in income to Social Security’s 12.4 percent tax rate in which half of it will be paid by the employer, and employees will pay the other half.
Likely to do nothing
Social Security has been known to be the “third rail of American politics.” It borrows the moniker from electrified train tracks where touching the electricity-carrying third rail may likely result in a person’s demise.
Sadly, such infamy simply translates that neither sides have the eagerness to push forward reforms to Social Security until the trust funds are that close to drying out that they have no other choice. For the uninitiated, the last massive reform to the program happened in 1983 – before the trust funds were expected to empty the last time.
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