On The Money: Weekly jobless claims dip slightly to 787,000 | Treasury launches $25B coronavirus rental assistance program, begins sending stimulus debit cards

On The Money: Weekly jobless claims dip slightly to 787,000 | Treasury launches $25B coronavirus rental assistance program, begins sending stimulus debit cards

Happy Thursday and welcome back to On The Money. I’m Sylvan Lane, and here’s your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line.

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THE BIG DEAL—Weekly jobless claims dip slightly to 787,000: New weekly claims for unemployment insurance totaled 787,000 in the final week of 2020, moving little from the previous week but remaining well above the pre-pandemic record high, according to data released Thursday by the Labor Department.

  • In the week ending Jan. 2, weekly jobless claims dropped by 3,000 from the previous week’s revised total of 790,000, which was initially reported at 787,000 claims. 
  • Another 161,000 people applied for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, a program created to extend jobless benefits to gig workers, contractors and others who don’t qualify for traditional unemployment insurance.

The new batch of jobless claims is yet another warning that the initial recovery from the coronavirus recession has continued to slow under the weight of record-breaking COVID-19 deaths and months of squabbling over further economic relief. Weekly jobless claims since the end of last March have remained well above the 690,000 pre-coronavirus claims record set in 1982. I break it down here.  

LEADING THE DAY

TurboTax says it expects stimulus payments to be deposited in correct bank accounts after ‘IRS error’ Tax-prep software giant TurboTax is telling customers that some people may not have received their stimulus payment because of an “IRS error” but that they expect the issue to be corrected “within days.”

“The IRS recently began issuing a second round of stimulus payments to those eligible. Unfortunately, because of an IRS error, millions of payments were sent to the wrong accounts and some may not have received their stimulus payment,” TurboTax said in a blog post on its website Wednesday and in an email to customers.

  • The IRS has already sent out many of the payments electronically. 
  • Still, millions of Americans have yet to receive their payments, and some of them have taken to Twitter to criticize the IRS and tax-prep services such as TurboTax and H&R Block.

The Hill’s Naomi Jagoda explains here.

Read more: Treasury starts sending 8 million stimulus payments by prepaid debit card

Treasury launches $25B coronavirus rental assistance program: The Treasury Department has launched a $25 billion rental assistance program with funds from the $900 billion coronavirus relief package enacted last week, the department announced Thursday.

State, territorial, tribal and local governments covering more than 200,000 people are now eligible to apply for aid allocated to help struggling Americans cover rent and prevent landlords from racking up debt from tenants.

I break down how the program works here.

GOOD TO KNOW