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How the U.S. Got It (Mostly) Right in the Economy’s Rescue

“Now that we need them, there’s no freaking help,” he said.Research from Eliza Forsythe, an economist at the University of Illinois, found that from June until Feb. 17, only 41 percent of unemployed workers had access to benefits. Some of the rest were unaware of their eligibility or couldn’t navigate the thicket of rules in their states. Others simply weren’t eligible. Asian workers, Black workers and those with less education were disproportionately represented among the nonrecipients.The gaps and delays in the system had consequences.“The impact of that is folks’ having to move out of their apartments …

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Inflation Fear Lurks, Even as Officials Say Not to Worry

While the Biden administration’s ambitious effort to salve the pandemic’s deep economic wounds made its way through Congress, proponents insisted that funneling $1.9 trillion to American households and businesses wouldn’t unshackle a long-vanquished monster: inflation.Officials at the Federal Reserve, responsible for balancing the job needs of Americans with price pressures that could erode their buying power, have said there is little cause for worry.Yet as the legislation moved toward the finish line, inflation prospects increasingly influenced political commentary and Wall Street trading.The worries reflect expectations of a rapid economic expansion as businesses reopen and the …

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Virus Did Not Bring Financial Rout That Many States Feared

Windfalls for Some StatesIn his survey, Peter DeGroot, head of municipal research and strategy at J.P. Morgan, found a handful of states, including Idaho, South Dakota and New Mexico, that managed to take in even more money last year than in 2019. The survey also identified several states where tax revenues have not yet bounced back because they depend heavily on tourism, oil and gas, or coal extraction — among them Hawaii, Nevada, Florida, Texas and West Virginia.Ms. Sheiner’s analysis showed that Idaho had the biggest revenue recovery of any state. She conducted her research with Byron Lutz, an …

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Stimulus Checks Helped Personal Income Surge in January

The American economic recovery came perilously close to falling off a cliff at the end of last year. But government aid arrived just in time to prevent a disaster — and possibly paved the way for a dynamic rebound.Personal income surged a remarkable 10 percent in January, the Commerce Department reported on Friday. Spending increased last month, too, by a healthy 2.4 percent, largely fueled by a rise in purchases of goods.The report was the latest sign of the economy’s slow but steady march forward after a series of setbacks.Yet the data also underscored the extent to which government …

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Should the Feds Guarantee You a Job?

What should the president do about jobs?For 30 years, Democratic administrations have approached the question by focusing on the overall economy and trusting that a vibrant labor market would follow. But there is a growing feeling among Democrats — along with many mainstream economists — that the market alone cannot give workers a square deal.So after a health crisis that has destroyed millions of jobs, a summer of urban protest that drew attention to the deprivation of Black communities, and another presidential election that exposed deep economic and social divides, some policymakers are reconsidering a policy tool not deployed since the …

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Pandemic’s Toll on Housing: Falling Behind, Doubling Up

As the pandemic enters its second year, millions of renters are struggling with a loss of income and with the insecurity of not knowing how long they will have a home. Their savings depleted, they are running up credit card debt to make the rent, or accruing months of overdue payments. Families are moving in together, offsetting the cost of housing by finding others to share it.The nation has a plague of housing instability that was festering long before Covid-19, and the pandemic’s economic toll has only made it worse. Now the financial scars are deepening and the …

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January 2021 Jobs Report: Outlook for Economic Recovery Dims

The American economic recovery showed new signs of stalling on Friday as government data underscored the pandemic’s brutal damage to the job market.U.S. employers added 49,000 jobs in January, the Labor Department said, dashing hopes that the new year would bring immediate relief. The private sector added just 6,000 jobs, barely enough to register against the millions of positions lost during the pandemic.The weak showing was tallied amid a fresh effort in Washington to provide a big infusion of aid to foster a recovery and the data will almost certainly bolster the Democrats’ argument for a robust stimulus …

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PPP Aid to Small Businesses: How Much Did $500 Billion Help?

Anecdotes like Mr. Geismann’s, however, aren’t straightforward to interpret. Perhaps Schuchart and companies like it would have found another way to make ends meet, or would have rehired workers quickly once construction projects resumed.Economists have tried to answer that question using data. Mr. Autor compared companies with just under 500 employees — which could qualify for the program’s original version — with those just above that size, which could not. If the loans were a big help, then the smaller companies should have retained many more of their workers. Instead, Mr. Autor found little difference between the two groups. …

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Continuing Job Losses Put Spotlight on Economic Relief

Mr. Biden has proposed a $1.9 trillion stimulus package that would include $1,400 in direct payments to individuals, expanded unemployment benefits and money for hard-pressed states and cities.In written testimony released Thursday as part of her Senate confirmation process, Janet L. Yellen, Mr. Biden’s nominee for Treasury secretary, reiterated the urgency of renewed aid.“Unemployment remains troublingly high, and millions of families are facing hunger or the risk of eviction,” Ms. Yellen, a former Federal Reserve chair, told a questioner. “Additional relief is needed to strengthen the economy, address our public health challenge and provide relief to communities that have …

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Unemployment Claims Rise Sharply, Showing New Economic Pain

Ten months after the coronavirus crisis decimated the labor market, the resurgent pandemic keeps sending shock waves through the American economy.Though more than half of the 22 million jobs lost last spring have been regained, a new surge of infections has prompted shutdowns and layoffs that have hit the leisure and hospitality industries especially hard, dealing a setback to the recovery.The latest evidence came on Thursday when the Labor Department reported that initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose sharply last week, exceeding one million for the first time since July.Just days earlier, the government announced that employers …

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