As Americans await news on a potential second round of stimulus checks, lawmakers are keeping their eyes on the upcoming June jobs report. Set to be released by The Labor Department on Thursday, July 2, the report has long been said to be a key factor in the decision of whether or not to include another wave of economic impact payments in what will likely be the final relief package amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Although unemployment rates skyrocketed as much of the country went on lockdown beginning in March, as stay-at-home orders began to be lifted several months later, the May jobs report had shown some very subtle signs of hope, signaling that at least some Americans were returning to work. As The Hill reports, should there be another strong month of employment gains, thoughts of a second stimulus check could be dashed. However, should Tuesday's report show a payroll decline in the month of June, it would support a need for another round of payments rather than smaller measures that have been tossed around.
"They don't see the market crashing, they see a better-than-expected jobs report last month, and so their focus is very much targeted [around a] back-to-work narrative," Ben Koltun, senior research analyst at Beacon Policy Advisors in Washington, said. "If there's a bad jobs report — and when you see more people out of work than last month — then there may be an impetus by more Republicans in the conference to provide broader support and more stimulus spending than they’re talking about right now."
Although May's job report had been promising, a sharp increase in coronavirus cases in recent weeks has prompted some states to backtrack in their phased reopening. Recent reports have even suggested that California Gov. Gavin Newsom would tighten the state’s stay-at-home order in a Wednesday announcement, posing the risk that more people will be forced out of work. Some lawmakers have pointed to the rise in cases and the effects that will have on the economy as a sign that further stimulus payments are needed. Messaging, however, has largely been mixed.
Lawmakers and the Trump administration are expected to begin discussing another relief package on Monday, July 20, which is when Congress and the Senate will return from a recess that begins on July 3. The job report to be released Thursday is expected to determine the urgency of those talks. At this time, it is unclear when such discussions and negotiations will come to an end, though it has been suggested that there could be a push for a bill to be passed by Aug. 7, the date on which the House and Senate are scheduled to recess for a full month.