SPY391.77+4.27 1.10%
DIA319.53+4.14 1.31%
IXIC13,597.97+132.77 0.99%

DJ U.S. Could Return to Full Employment by 2022, Yellen Says -- Barrons.com

· 02/07/2021 12:28
By Ben Walsh

Here's what you need to know to navigate the markets today.

-- Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Sunday that the U.S. could return to full employment next year if Congress passes President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus package. "I would expect that if this package is passed that we would get back to full employment next year," Yellen said on CNN's "State of the Union." Yellen contrasted that optimistic assessment with an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office that without any relief package, it would take until 2025 for unemployment to go below 4%. Full employment has long been shorthand for 4% unemployment, but Yellen has for years pushed for broader measures of the labor market, such as the long-term unemployment rate and the number of people who can only find part time work even though they want a full-time job, into consideration when defining the term.

-- President Biden will lay out the argument in favor of his stimulus package in a speech ahead of the Super Bowl as Democrats prepare to ramp up their legislative efforts to pass a multi-trillion package in the coming weeks. Biden's plan includes $1,400 direct payments to Americans, extended federal unemployment benefits, funds for Covid-19 vaccine distribution and aid to revenue-strapped cities and states.

In an excerpt of the interview, which will air Sunday afternoon before the Super Bowl, Biden added that he doesn't think his $15 minimum wage proposal will make it into the final bill. "I put it in but I don't think its going to survive," he said. He is also expected to address current sanctions against Iran, which he says he won't lift unless Iran stops enriching uranium.

-- Democrats will release legislation creating a $3,000 per child benefit on Monday as part of President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus package, the Washington Post reports. The bill would provide families with $3,600 per child under six years old and $3,000 per child between six and 17, with the amount beginning to decline for families earning $150,000 a year and individuals earnings $75,000 a year.

The Internal Revenue Service would begin paying out the benefit in monthly checks starting in July if the proposal becomes law. Senior House Democrats plan to include the policy in the stimulus bill they plan to pass in the coming weeks, although it is unclear if it can be included in the Senate version given the upper chamber's budget reconciliation rules. Days ago, Sen. Mitt Romney (R., Utah) released a proposal for an even larger stand-alone direct cash payment to families. Sen. Romney's policy would deliver $4,200 per child under age 6 and $3,000 a year for those between 6 and 17.

-- AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine doesn't appear to protect against mild and moderate infections from the more easily transmissible form of the virus first identified in South Africa, according to a small clinical trial conducted in that country. The trial, which hasn't been peer-reviewed, only included about 2,000 participants with a median age was 31, making it too small and the subjects overall too young to draw broad conclusions about how the vaccine performs in preventing infections in the population at large, The Wall Street Journal reported. An AstraZeneca spokesperson told the Journal that the company believes "our vaccine could protect against severe disease."

Write to Ben Walsh at ben.walsh@barrons.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

February 07, 2021 12:28 ET (17:28 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.