WASHINGTON D.C. (NBC News) – Thursday’s latest jobless numbers provide more assurance that the U.S. economy is slowly climbing out of the pit created by the coronavirus pandemic, but there are several potential obstacles looming ahead in the coming month.
Around 1.48 million people filed for initial unemployment benefits last week, the 14th consecutive week that states have processed over a million first-time applications — and a larger weekly figure than economist predictions of 1.35 million.
At the same time, a troubling new report from a government watchdog finds that $1.4 billion worth of stimulus payments went to more than a million Americans who were already dead. Critics say it’s a sign of a muddled rollout by the IRS and the Treasury Department.
Meanwhile, more challenges are looming. In the last two weeks of July, taxes are due, a moratorium on evictions ends and the extra $600 in unemployment benefits will lapse if Congress doesn’t approve an extension.
With coronavirus cases spiking in more than half of all states are now pausing further reopening plans.
“The economy is not going to be closed down again, there may be certain places where there is that’s up to the local authorities,” said White House Economic Advisor Larry Kudlow.
President Trump is also focused on the economy today with a trip to a Wisconsin shipyard that just received a lucrative Navy contract. It comes as a New York Times-Siena College poll finds a large majority of voters believe the government should prioritize containing the coronavirus, regardless of the economic impact.