Those hoping for an economic rebound and return to normalcy to close out the Summer got a shock on Thursday after unemployment numbers rose above 1 million after declining in the preceding weeks. At the same time, there is undoubtedly recovery from the start of the coronavirus pandemic and the massive amount of unemployment claims since. But also in question are the need for a new stimulus package and direct payments to citizens.
Some see the surprise jump in unemployment numbers as an indicator that the economy still needs stimulus to get back on track. While the president and others tout the high stock numbers in recent weeks, many realize that this is far from a fair representation of economic health related to ordinary people.
Jobless claims trending in the wrong direction. The jobs hole is deep. 28.5 million people receiving some sort of government unemployment assistance.— Christine Romans (@ChristineRomans) August 20, 2020
"If we continue to see the pullback and nothing is done by Washington, for state and local government as well, the headwinds going in to the fall are going to be huge and they could easily be a riptide that pulls us under again," Grant Thornton chief economist Diane Swonk said according to CNBC. She added that unemployment claims were up in 36 states and that the data experts saw indicated the "economy stalling" and maybe even "losing ground."
The end of unemployment benefits at the end of July and the addition of jobs before the end of the month have affected the way we're looking at the economic impact. This means that the answers behind the data are up for debate.
"Maybe things are not quite as good out there as we thought. It's been a couple weeks since the $600 weekly unemployment checks have gone away. That's pulling out the support from the economic recovery... There's certainly no more PPP. The $1,200 checks are long gone. This isn't a self-sustaining recovery," MUFG Union Bank Chief Economist Chris Rupkey said, according to CNBC. "We still need the support of the federal government, and that support has been pulled away."
With the debate on stimulus at a standstill and the impact of Donald Trump's executive orders being questioned, the timing of this uncertainty isn't healthy for American citizens in need. And just around the corner in October is another debate over the budget, followed by the election in November. It could be a very crowded time on Capitol Hill starting Saturday. But will they act or will we be forced to hope for the best-case scenario with the numbers?