Fact Check: Is a Fourth Stimulus Check Going to Happen?

Father Works From Home While His Younger Son Makes Him Company While Mum With Other Son Sets Lunch in the Background.
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Talk of a fourth stimulus check — and even recurring monthly stimulus payments — keeps making the rounds in Washington, D.C. and elsewhere, especially since the COVID-19 Delta variant has caused more uncertainty about the American economy.

See: Fourth Stimulus Checks Are Coming From These States — Is Yours on the List?
Find: Missing a Stimulus Check? Here’s How to Get Your Payment

But so far there is no evidence that a fourth check will be coming anytime soon, if ever, and recent developments make the prospect of another check increasingly unlikely.

President Joe Biden’s main relief priority is the child tax credit program rather than another stimulus round, according to CBS. And as GOBankingRates noted earlier this week, the latest job report — which showed that the U.S. unemployment rate fell to 5.4% in July — doesn’t bode well for those still holding out for a fourth payment.

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The July employment rate is the lowest since the COVID-19 pandemic began affecting employment in early 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. About 943,000 new jobs were also added to the economy, with leisure and hospitality jobs leading the growth.

See: Stimulus Forecast — Latest Jobs Data Makes a Fourth Check Less Likely
Find: Didn’t Get Your Child Tax Credit? Here’s How to Track It Down

Meanwhile, the BLS reported that the labor force participation rate changed very little in July, coming in at 61.7%, which is within the same range of 61.4-61.7% since June of last year. The participation rate is actually 1.6 percentage points lower now than it was in February of 2020.

One result is that businesses are scrambling to find workers and fill jobs, and some lawmakers put part of the blame on stimulus payments, which they say have taken away the incentive of eligible workers to find jobs.

So far, the United States government has delivered $3,200 in stimulus payments to each eligible adult, CBS News reported: $1,200 under the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act in March 2020; $600 in a December relief package; and $1,400 under the American Rescue Plan signed in March.

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As of June, about 9.5 million Americans were looking for work, GOBankingRates reported, citing data from The Wall Street Journal. Some economists attribute the gap between job openings and unemployment to skills or geographic disparities between workers and available jobs.

“We have fewer people in the labor market now than we did before Covid,” Julia Pollak, a labor economist at job-search site ZipRecruiter, told the Journal. She added that multiple rounds of federal economic stimulus and benefits mean “businesses have surged back far more quickly than job seekers.”

See: Job Openings Reach Record High, Now Exceed Number of Employment Seekers
Find: Eviction Moratorium — How It Could Affect Millions and Where to Seek Additional Aid

While all this makes a fourth stimulus check unlikely, plenty of people still support the idea They cite the fact that millions of Americans are still struggling financially. About four in 10 say their income remains below its pre-pandemic levels, according to a survey from TransUnion. And as CBS News reported Thursday, about 14.6 million Americans currently get some form of jobless assistance.

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In March, 21 senators, all Democrats, signed a letter to Biden in support of recurring stimulus payments. And as GOBankingRates previously reported, about 2.8 million people (and counting) have signed a petition calling for $2,000 monthly stimulus checks for every American, making it one of the top 10 petitions that changed 2020, according to a statement on the Change.org website.

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About the Author

Vance Cariaga is a London-based writer, editor and journalist who previously held staff positions at Investor’s Business Daily, The Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer. His work also appeared in Charlotte Magazine, Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Business North Carolina magazine. He holds a B.A. in English from Appalachian State University and studied journalism at the University of South Carolina. His reporting earned awards from the North Carolina Press Association, the Green Eyeshade Awards and AlterNet. In addition to journalism, he has worked in banking, accounting and restaurant management. A native of North Carolina who also writes fiction, Vance’s short story, “Saint Christopher,” placed second in the 2019 Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Two of his short stories appear in With One Eye on the Cows, an anthology published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2019. His debut novel, Voodoo Hideaway, was published in 2021 by Atmosphere Press.
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