On The Money: Weekly jobless claims tick down, but remain above 1 million | Blacks, Hispanics less likely to receive stimulus checks quickly | Growing number of retailers requiring masks nationwide

On The Money: Weekly jobless claims tick down, but remain above 1 million | Blacks, Hispanics less likely to receive stimulus checks quickly | Growing number of retailers requiring masks nationwide

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THE BIG DEAL—Weekly jobless claims tick down, but remain above 1 million: Roughly 1.3 million Americans filed new claims for unemployment benefits during the second week of July, according to data released Thursday by the Labor Department.

  • In the week ending July 11, the total number of seasonally adjusted initial claims for unemployment insurance fell by 10,000 from the previous week’s revised total of 1,310,000 claims. 
  • The non-seasonally adjusted total number of claims, however, increased by more than 100,000 claims to 1,503,892 in total. Several economists have argued that that the non-seasonally adjusted figures are a more accurate view into the unprecedented state of the economy.
  • Unemployed workers also filed 928,488 claims for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance in 47 states, a program created to provide benefits to gig workers, contractors and other jobless individuals who do not qualify for traditional unemployment insurance. 

I break down the numbers here.

In a nutshell: While initial jobless claims continued their steady decline since mid-April, they still remain well above pre-pandemic averages despite two consecutive months of net job gains. 

“While some of this may be related to temporary new lockdowns, the reality is these numbers have remained elevated. What this looks like is continued job loss and continued permanent business closures,” wrote Adam Ozimek, chief economist at Upwork, in a Thursday tweet.

LEADING THE DAY

Blacks, Hispanics less likely to receive stimulus checks quickly: study: Most U.S. households received coronavirus stimulus payments by mid-to-late May, but there were “significant disparities” by income, race and ethnicity and family-citizenship status, according to a paper released Thursday by the Urban Institute.

“Adults were less likely to receive the payments if they had family incomes below 100 percent of [the federal poverty level] or if they were Black or Hispanic, and particularly if they were Hispanic and in families with noncitizens,” researchers at the think tank wrote.

  • About 59 percent of adults with income at or below the federal poverty level said they had gotten their payments, while about 78 percent of adults with incomes of between 100 percent and 600 percent of the federal poverty level said they had received theirs, according to the paper.
  • About 74 percent of non-Hispanic white adults reported getting a payment, compared to 69 percent of non-Hispanic Black adults and 64 percent of Hispanic adults, according to the paper.
  • About 70 percent of Hispanic adults in households where all family members are U.S. citizens said they had gotten payments, compared to 54 percent of Hispanic adults that have a noncitizen in their family, the survey found.

The Hill’s Naomi Jagoda explains why here.

Read more: A bipartisan group of more than 100 House members is urging the IRS to promptly resolve issues that their constituents are experiencing with obtaining their coronavirus stimulus payments.

White House: Trump thinks payroll tax cut ‘must’ be part of next COVID-19 relief package

The White House on Thursday emphasized that President TrumpDonald John TrumpProgressive group launches M pro-Biden ad buy targeting young voters Ilhan Omar: GOP response to calls for police reform ‘was vicious’ White House considers sweeping travel ban on members, families of the Chinese Communist Party: report MORE thinks a payroll tax cut is a must-have in the next coronavirus relief package.

“As he has done since the beginning of this pandemic, President Trump wants to provide relief to hardworking Americans who have been impacted by this virus and one way of doing that is with a payroll tax holiday,” White House spokesman Judd Deere said in a statement. “He’s called on Congress to pass this before and he believes it must be part of any phase four package.”

The debate: Work on the next coronavirus relief package is expected to heat up next week, when lawmakers return to Washington following a recess.

Naomi explains here.

Target, CVS to join growing number of retailers requiring masks nationwide: Target and CVS Health announced on Thursday they will require all customers to wear face masks in every U.S. store.

The news follows Walmart, Best Buy and Kroger announcing the same measure on Wednesday and the National Retail Federation (NRF) encouraging other chains to follow. Chains are releasing the new policies as coronavirus cases surge in various states including Texas, California and Florida.

More and more states are imposing similar mask rules for all public spaces, with mounting scientific studies showing the effectiveness of facial coverings in reducing the spread of COVID-19. Retailers, who were hard hit early on in the pandemic, are hoping to avoid another round of lockdowns like the ones in March and April that crippled their in-store revenue. 

The Hill’s Alex Gangitano has more here.

GOOD TO KNOW

ODDS AND ENDS

    • The political momentum behind mask mandates is growing quickly, with more governors issuing orders that people wear face coverings in public and major retailers uniting behind them.
    • The sweeping hack of verified Twitter accounts Wednesday night was one of the largest security lapses in the platform’s history and led to thousands of users being partially locked out for hours.
    • Op-Ed: Steve Clemons, editor at large of The Hill, argues why “’Made in America’ won’t be as simple as it sounds.”