On The Money: 3 million more Americans file for unemployment benefits | Sanders calls for Senate to 'improve' House Democrats' coronavirus bill | Less than 40 percent of small businesses have received emergency coronavirus loans

On The Money: 3 million more Americans file for unemployment benefits | Sanders calls for Senate to 'improve' House Democrats' coronavirus bill | Less than 40 percent of small businesses have received emergency coronavirus loans

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 — 3 million more Americans file for unemployment benefits as coronavirus economic impact expands: Just under 3 million people applied for initial unemployment claims in the week ending May 9, according to Labor Department data released Thursday, as the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic continue to batter the economy.

  • The seasonally adjusted figures bring the total number of newly unemployed Americans since the start of the pandemic to roughly 36.5 million. 
  • The unadjusted weekly figure, which some economists say is more accurate given the scale of the pandemic, was 2.6 million.
  • The number does mark the lowest weekly reading since the crisis began, a fact some economists point to as a glimmer of good news in an otherwise dismal report.
  • The Labor Department report also noted that in the week ending April 25, 3.4 million people applied for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, the expanded benefits program Congress approved in March's CARES Act that offers benefits to gig economy workers, the self-employed and freelancers, who are typically not eligible.

The Hill’s Niv Elis walks us through the report here.

LEADING THE DAY

Sanders calls for Senate to 'improve' House Democrats' coronavirus bill: Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden wins Hawaii primary Warren to host high-dollar fundraiser for Biden Julián Castro to become senior advisor for Voto Latino MORE (I-Vt.) on Thursday said that the Senate should "improve" House Democrats' $3 trillion coronavirus relief package so that it better addresses families' health care and economic needs.

The comments from Sanders, a prominent progressive lawmaker and former Democratic presidential candidate, come one day before the House plans to vote on the bill, despite a push from the leaders of the Congressional Progressive Caucus to delay the vote.

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"Clearly, in these unprecedented times, we need to substantially increase funding for state and local governments, provide hazard pay for essential workers and save the Postal Service. I applaud the Speaker for including these, and many other, important provisions in her bill," Sanders said in a statement.

"In my view, however, the Senate must improve this legislation if we are to adequately address the two most urgent needs facing working families right now: health care and economic security," he added.

The Hill’s Naomi Jagoda tells us more here.

Less than 40 percent of small businesses have received emergency coronavirus loans: Census Bureau: Less than 40 percent of small businesses have received support from the Treasury Department and Small Business Administration's (SBA) emergency coronavirus lending initiative, according to Census Bureau data released Thursday.

While 74.9 percent of respondents to the Census Bureau’s survey of small businesses applied for a forgivable loan through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), only 38.1 percent received aid.

  • The PPP was created through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act to help small businesses closed or suffering during the pandemic retain their employees and keep them off of unemployment insurance. 
  • The program offers loans intended to cover eight weeks of payroll and 25 percent of overhead costs, and can be forgiven up to 100 percent if spent according to those terms.

While the PPP has received wide bipartisan support, the program has also been marked by frequent controversy, confusion, and concern about the restrictive terms of the loans it offers. I have more here.

GOOD TO KNOW

ODDS AND ENDS

  • Stocks closed with solid gains Thursday, rebounding to break a three-day losing streak despite the Labor Department reporting nearly 3 million more claims for unemployment benefits filed last week.
  • The Aspen Institute, a major non-profit think tank, announced Thursday that it will return the $8 million loan it received through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) created by Congress in the CARES Act.