Even as lawmakers and other people pitch in for a fourth stimulus payment, around 1.24M stimulus checks from the initial round are yet to be cashed for various reasons across the country. And across America, the opening up of the economy has led to an increased demand for workers.
A request for records with the IRS by Boston Herald has revealed that 1,245,339 individuals or families are yet to cash in on their stimulus payments. The information was obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.
The IRS has further informed the paper that the unclaimed stimulus checks are of individuals and families who have either not chased, returned, or declined to accept the amount. The first payment was made a year ago under the CARES Act signed by President Trump on March 27 last year.
California and Florida have the highest numbers with 123,235 and 91,108 payments not being claimed. It was followed by Texas, New York, and Pennsylvania.
Towards A Fourth Stimulus Check
Many Democratic lawmakers, including Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, have pitched for more stimulus payments. Recently a member of the powerful congressional committee has called for a fourth round of economic stimulus by President Biden.
Millions of people continue to be in the grip of the economic downturn triggered by the pandemic. The third stimulus check is expected to last them not more than 3 months.
People continue to worry about getting food on the table, paying rent or mortgage, and paying for essentials.
Letter From The Senators
A letter from 7 Democratic lawmakers on the House Ways and Means Committee to President Biden has called for additional stimulus checks as a direct economic measure to pay for food, and further essential payments. This committee looks after government taxation and budgeting. Around 15% of members of the committee are signatories of the petition.
The letter mentioned that workers and families should not have to care about paying for their basics in the immediate future. The nation is yet to emerge from the economic recession and the pandemic.
The letter has called for two more rounds of stimulus checks but hasn’t made any mention of the amount to be paid.
They wrote that the two stimulus payments could combine to keep around 12 million people out of impending poverty. These direct payments along with the support of the American Recovery Plan could help in reducing the number of people under poverty to 16M from the 44M at present.
Previously, 80 more Democratic lawmakers have written for added relief.
An online petition for more stimulus support has garnered above 2.2M signatures from people across America.
Chances Of A 4th Stimulus Check
Though there has been a groundswell of support for the 4th round of direct stimulus payments, it seems unlikely at the moment. President Biden is preoccupied with the American Jobs Plan to overhaul the complete infrastructure of America not seen since the building of the interstate highways.
Even the third stimulus check faced stiff opposition from the Republicans before it made it through Congress largely due to a loophole in the budget.
The Republicans have continued to stiffly oppose any more direct stimulus measures and numerous Governors have not gone along with unemployment insurance. They have argued that such measures only discouraged people from joining the workforce. And future direct stimulus checks would meet strong opposition from the Republicans. Even some Democratic lawmakers, including Nancy Pelosi, have been silent or are against any further direct stimulus support.
Successive administration has provided up to $3,200 in the three-round of stimulus payments. There has been additional support, including an extension in the unemployment benefits of $300 a week to September 6, 2021.
The latest round has benefitted around 166 million individuals and families and the total amount disbursed in the third round of stimulus payments stood at around $388 billion at present.
Gradual Opening Up Of The Economy
With the pickup in vaccination, the economy is gradually opening, but employers are struggling to fill positions. Even raw material supplies are yet to pick up.
Factories, construction companies, hotels, and restaurants have struggled mainly to fill up positions as the economy gradually makes a turnaround.
A Dearth Of People Willing To Join The Workforce
A large proportion of the labor force is unwilling to join for fears of catching the virus. Others are caught up caring for their families.
The clogged supply chain has also hit manufacturing companies. Some businesses feel that the continuation of the $300 per week jobless benefits are discouraging workers from rejoining work.
Though there has been an upward spike in hiring for four months at a stretch, the government has been forced to lower job growth estimates.
As more Americans have started looking for employment, the unemployment level has also increased to 6.1%, from the present 6%.
A Healthy Demand For More Workers
There has been a spike of ‘help wanted’ signs in windows across America. There have been other significant signs that there remains a scarcity of labor. The opening up of the economy has led to a northward movement in the average pay which rose to a healthy $30.17 per hour in April; a rise of 1.7%.
There has also been an increase in the average workweek. The companies are encouraging their workers to work even more as there has been a spurt in demand.
Demand is soon expected to outstrip supply across industries and this has led to a supply crisis in the workforce.