March 9, 2021
The Gateway For Payroll Data
Stimulus checks: Personal income, savings, and spending surged after round 2 of direct payments

Personal income jumped 10% in January, reaching its highest level on record after the distribution of the second stimulus checks and the additional $300 in weekly unemployment benefits kicked in last month, according to data by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Spending and savings also increased.

"You get to January and this is when the $600 check show up. You see a lot of income, we see a lot of spending," Claudia Sahm, a senior fellow at Jain Family Institute and former Federal Reserve economist, told Yahoo Money. "We're going to see more [data] like that ... for at least another month."

Spending rose 2.4%, while the savings rate reached 20.5%. While the bulk of the $600 stimulus checks were sent in the last days of December and in January, the extra unemployment benefits started in mid-January. Those should continue to keep income, savings, and spending elevated into February, according to Sahm.

Paving the Payments Future
Monthly auto loan payments surge to record highs as borrowing hits biggest one-year jump, Experian says

  • The average monthly loan payment for a new car is approaching $600 according to Experian, which analyzes millions of new and used vehicle loans.
  • Those taking out loans to buy a new vehicle borrowed an average of $35,228, an increase of almost $2,000 from a year earlier.
  • Loans for used vehicles also hit all-time highs, with consumers borrowing an average of $24,467, up almost $1,700 year over year.

News Releases

Walmart’s Latest Foray Into Finance Makes a Friend of an Old Foe

One of Walmart Inc.’s longtime foes conceded the retailer’s latest foray into banking could end well for consumers.

“There are still a lot of people who want a physical location to go to for their banking services, and Walmart could provide that with all its stores,” said Sheila Bair, who oversaw the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. when the retail giant last applied for a banking charter. Bair placed a moratorium on the application, which Walmart ultimately withdrew in 2007 after years of controversy.

Walmart this week hired a pair of senior Goldman Sachs Group Inc. bankers to run a financial-technology startup it’s creating with the venture capital firm Ribbit Capital. The world’s largest retailer has been pretty tight-lipped about its plans for the fledgling unit, but has said it doesn’t currently have plans to apply for a banking charter.

Walmart last applied for a charter in 2005, at the time arguing it could save $30 million a year from processing credit- and debit-card transactions in-house. This time around, Walmart has said it hopes to offer affordable financial services to the millions who already shop at the retailer.

CFPB: 10% Of US Households At Risk Of Eviction, Foreclosure

A new Consumer Finance Protection Bureau report says that there are currently 11 million people at risk of losing their housing, whether by evictions or foreclosure.

That figure comes out to almost 10 percent of U.S. households.

The report calls it "common sense that safe, affordable, and stable housing provides the foundation for people’s well-being, financial and otherwise."

"Stable homes mean stable neighborhoods and communities," the report reads. "When people lose their homes, their lives, health, and finances are all disrupted. Even the threat of losing a family’s home can force tough financial decisions, including skipping payments on food, medicine, and heat to keep a roof over their head."

Federal Aid, Earnings Spur Personal Income Growth

Despite Diminishing Federal Aid, Total Personal Income Beat Last Year’s

Total personal income was higher in every state in the third quarter of 2020 than a year earlier, with substantial but tapering government aid supporting individuals and businesses as the coronavirus pandemic continued to stifle economic activity. Without government assistance, personal income would have been lower than a year earlier in the majority of states. Read more below.

Six months into the pandemic, two major factors drove increases in the sum of residents' personal income: robust government assistance and earnings, which rebounded somewhat from a steep decline in the second quarter. But the third quarter’s year-over-year gains were smaller than the substantial growth recorded in the second quarter, when an initial infusion of relief funds jolted this key economic indicator.

U.S. could send $1,400 COVID bill payments within days; child tax credit a bigger challenge

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - With plenty of practice sending coronavirus relief payments to Americans, the federal government should be able to launch the delivery of $1,400 checks almost immediately once Congress finalizes the new aid bill and President Joe Biden signs it, tax experts say.

Some Americans might see direct payments as soon as this week if the bill passes the House of Representatives on Tuesday as expected, compared with several weeks' lag in April 2020. Nearly 160 million households are expected to get payments, the White House estimates.

The Treasury Department's Internal Revenue Service will have new challenges on its hands, though, thanks to the $1.9 trillion relief bill. Incarcerated people, those with non-citizen spouses and relatives of those who died in 2020 will be eligible for payments.

Early Warning Systems Can Help States Identify Signs of Fiscal Distress

Pew-supported study recommends improvements to critical monitoring tool

States have a pivotal interest in the fiscal health of their localities so that they can continue providing vital services to their citizens. Local government budgets have begun to feel the impacts of the recession, which probably will continue for some time. By implementing and improving early warning systems, states can proactively identify fiscal weaknesses and provide assistance to their local governments when necessary, potentially helping them avoid fiscal disaster.

The Great Recession of 2007-09 challenged the budgets of many local governments, eroding their ability to provide services such as water, sewer, and road upkeep to residents. This incentivized states to adopt or strengthen fiscal monitoring systems, which can identify financial instability before it becomes a crisis.

In a white paper for The Pew Charitable Trusts, Eric Scorsone and Natalie Pruett of the Michigan State University Extension’s Michigan Center for Local Government Finance & Policy assessed local government early warning systems through case studies in Colorado, Louisiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Each of these states applies various financial ratios—an approach known as ratio analysis—and other indicators to identify signs of local fiscal distress.

5 Years From Now: Experts' Predictions for Our Near Future

Experts Say the ‘New Normal’ in 2025 Will Be Far More Tech-Driven, Presenting More Big Challenges

A plurality of experts think sweeping societal change will make life worse for most people as greater inequality, rising authoritarianism and rampant misinformation take hold in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. Still, a portion believe life will be better in a ‘tele-everything’ world where workplaces, health care and social activity improve

When pandemics sweep through societies, they upend critical structures, such as health systems and medical treatments, economic life, socioeconomic class structures and race relations, fundamental institutional arrangements, communities and everyday family life. A new canvassing of experts in technology, communications and social change by Pew Research Center and Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center finds that many expect similar impacts to emerge from the COVID-19 outbreak.

US debt on track to double by 2051, raising risk of financial crisis, CBO says

Rising US debt could pose a long-term threat to the nation's economy and heighten the risk of a financial crisis

The federal debt is poised to double to 202% of gross domestic product over the next 30 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office, heightening the risk of a financial crisis in the U.S.

The nonpartisan office projected that federal debt will be 102% of GDP by the end of this year and will nearly double that by 2051. Such high debt levels could increase borrowing costs, slow economic output and increase the danger of a financial crisis, the CBO said.

The outlook does not take into account the additional spending that Congress is expected to approve this year, including President Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package that Democrats hope to enact in the coming weeks, as well as an expensive infrastructure bill.

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