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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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How Our Unemployment Benefits System Failed

The nation’s unemployment insurance program, conceived during the Great Depression, was meant to keep jobless workers and their families from suffering drops in income that could tip them into poverty or force them to liquidate their assets to afford food, rent and other necessities.Its goals included allowing the unemployed to wait for a productive job to materialize, rather than take the first one that appeared, and providing stability to the economy in recessions, mitigating the expected drop in consumption when millions of workers lost their jobs.The tussle in Congress last month over whether to extend emergency unemployment …

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10 Challenges Biden Faces in Righting the Economy

All presidents come into office vowing to rapidly put into effect an ambitious agenda. But for Joseph R. Biden Jr., the raging coronavirus pandemic and the economic pain it is causing mean many things must get done quickly if he wants to get the economy going. In a speech Thursday on his $1.9 trillion spending proposal, Mr. Biden repeatedly stressed the need to act “now.”But piecing together a majority in Congress could take time: Compromises and concessions will be needed to get the votes he will need to advance legislation.The new president is expected to reverse many of Donald …

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How Full Employment Became Washington’s Creed

As President-elect Joseph R. Biden, Jr. prepares to take office this week, his administration and the Federal Reserve are pointed toward a singular economic goal: Get the job market back to where it was before the pandemic hit.The humming labor backdrop that existed 11 months ago — with 3.5 percent unemployment, stable or rising work force participation and steadily climbing wages — turned out to be a recipe for lifting all boats, creating economic opportunities for long-disenfranchised groups and lowering poverty rates. And price gains remained manageable and even a touch on the low side. That contrasts with efforts to push the labor …

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How China’s Economy Bounced Back

CHANGMINGZHEN, China — The smell, salty and pungent, wafts through the freshly paved streets near the gleaming new factory.The factory is owned by a company called Laoganma, which makes a piquant chili-and-soybean sauce famous across China for its power to set mouths watering. In a time of global pandemic, when the jobs of working people around the world hang in the balance, the factory’s scents signal opportunity.Since it opened in March, when China was still in the grip of Covid-19, the factory has struggled to find enough machinery operators or quality control technicians. Now workers are flocking to …

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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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What’s in Biden’s $1.9 Trillion Stimulus Plan

The incoming Biden administration unveiled a $1.9 trillion stimulus plan on Thursday that offered a wish list of spending measures meant to help both people and the economy recover from the coronavirus pandemic, from state and local aid and more generous unemployment benefits to mass vaccinations.Below, we run through a few of the biggest provisions, how they would work and what they might mean for the United States economy as it struggles through a winter of surging coronavirus cases and partial state and local lockdowns.Let’s put that headline number in context.That $1.9 trillion figure is a lot of …

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Cash, Breakfasts and Firings: An All-Out Push to Vaccinate Wary Medical Workers

“If that doesn’t get you in line, I don’t know what will,” Georgia’s governor, Brian Kemp, said last month.At Houston Methodist, a hospital system in Texas with 26,000 employees, workers who take the vaccine will be eligible for a $500 bonus. “Vaccination is not mandatory for our employees yet (but will be eventually),” Dr. Marc Boom, the hospital’s chief executive, wrote in an email to employees last month.In an interview last week, Dr. Boom said the bonuses were “one of the many strategies to nudge people forward.” He added: “I do think we’ll get there. …

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Jobless, Selling Nudes Online and Still Struggling

Savannah Benavidez stopped working at her job as a medical biller in June to take care of her 2-year-old son after his day care shut down. Needing a way to pay her bills, she created an account on OnlyFans — a social media platform where users sell original content to monthly subscribers — and started posting photos of herself nude or in lingerie.Ms. Benavidez, 23, has made $64,000 since July, enough not just to take care of her own bills, but to help family and friends with rent and car payments.“It’s more money than I have ever made in any job,” …

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It Could Be a Great Year, if Your Business Survives Winter

For Ashlie Ordonez, owner of the Bare Bar Studio, a spa in Denver, vaccinations for the coronavirus can’t come soon enough. While she anticipates better days later this year, surviving until then will be a struggle, and she knows the next few months will be lean ones.“I sold my wedding ring so we could pay the bills and keep the doors open,” she said. “I’m sacrificing everything to make it through this pandemic.”Vinay Patel, who manages a chain of nine hotels in Maryland and Virginia, is looking even further out for a recovery: “2022 is when we’ …

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