On The Money: Initial jobless claims drop to 1.9 million | IRS faces obstacles with remaining stimulus checks | Nearly half of Americans have lost income over coronavirus

On The Money: Initial jobless claims drop to 1.9 million | IRS faces obstacles with remaining stimulus checks | Nearly half of Americans have lost income over coronavirus

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THE BIG DEAL— Initial jobless claims drop to 1.9 million: Initial unemployment claims for the last week of May fell to 1.9 million, nonetheless extending one of the worst unemployment crises in the nation's history.

  • The figure, while staggering, represented a continued downward trend in new weekly claims from an April peak of 6.9 million, giving some economists hope that the worst part of the coronavirus-sparked crisis is in the rearview mirror.
  • Last week's figure of 2.1 million was revised up by 3,000. Until March, the highest weekly level of claims in history was below 700,000.
  • The new data also showed an additional 623,000 claims of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, a program passed in March's CARES Act that expanded benefits to freelancers, the self-employed and other groups typically not eligible for unemployment insurance.

The Hill’s Niv Elis breaks it down here.

LEADING THE DAY

IRS faces obstacles with remaining stimulus checks: The IRS is facing a handful of obstacles in its efforts to deliver the final batch of coronavirus relief checks.

While the overwhelming majority of direct payments have been sent to Americans’ bank accounts or mailboxes, there are a few challenges in getting the remaining rebates to eligible households.

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  • The Treasury Department, which oversees the IRS, said Wednesday that about 159 million payments have been distributed and that payments have gone out to all eligible Americans who have the necessary information on file with the IRS. But some people who qualify still haven’t received their payment.
  • Tax experts said the IRS faces a tough road ahead in getting payments to everyone who hasn't received theirs yet, especially for low-income individuals who don’t make enough money to have to file tax returns and also don’t receive certain federal benefits.

The IRS said Wednesday that it is planning an extensive outreach campaign about the payments to groups that serve homeless individuals, households where members speak limited English and underserved communities. The Hill’s Naomi Jagoda tells us more about what that will take.

Nearly half of Americans have lost income over coronavirus: Almost half of Americans say they or someone in their household have lost employment income in the last three months, according to new government figures.

A weekly survey by the Census Bureau found that 119 million Americans, or 48 percent of those 18 and over, have reported a loss of income since March 13, the day President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump on Kanye West's presidential run: 'He is always going to be for us' Marie Yovanovitch on Vindman retirement: He 'deserved better than this. Our country deserved better than this' Trump says Biden has been 'brainwashed': 'He's been taken over by the radical left' MORE declared a national emergency over the coronavirus pandemic.

More than 42 million Americans have filed unemployment insurance claims in the last 11 weeks. The Labor Department said Thursday that nearly 1.9 million more people filed claims the previous week, a sign that job losses continue to mount.

The toll is falling most heavily on those at the lowest end of the economic spectrum. The Hill’s Reid Wilson tells us why here.

  • A majority of Americans living in households that make less than $100,000 a year reported losing income since mid-March, including substantial majorities of those who make less than $35,000 a year.
  • Black and Hispanic households were more likely to say they had lost income than not, and majorities of those who had not attained a bachelor's degree said they had lost income.
  • Among African American households with young children, nearly 23 percent said they sometimes or often did not have enough to eat. Among Hispanic households with children, that figure stood at 18 percent, compared to just 9 percent of white households.

GOOD TO KNOW