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US to release new employment data from December


US to release new employment data from December

Photo: AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

December’s non-farm employment data for the US is set to be released today as the country readies for the inauguration of President Joe Biden.

November’s gain of 245,000 jobs was the smallest since the job market began its May recovery. Initial claims for unemployment benefits remain high by historical standards, at over 800,000, and today’s report is expected to confirm a growth of only 50,000 jobs. Private payrolls decreased in December according to a recent ADP report, contradicting a predicted gain of 60,000 by Dow Jones. Continued layoffs are expected as the country enters its first full winter amidst the pandemic; the country passed 21,000,000 confirmed cases on January 5.

A weak jobs report will be viewed as further impetus for Democrats to pass expanded stimulus packages after January 20. Biden has referred to last month’s $900 billion aid package as a “down payment“; as such, expect more stimulus in the short-term. An expansion of the renewed Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to cover larger businesses is also possible after the employee cap was lowered from 500 to 300. By expanding PPP, increasing unemployment subsidies and extending them beyond March 14, the government could combat unemployment and ease financial burdens.

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