February 23, 2021
The Gateway For Payroll Data
Walmart just boosted pay to $15. It's not what you think

Walmart announced pay bumps Thursday that will bring its average hourly wage to over $15 an hour. But the move still falls short of the $15 minimum wage announced by some of its largest competitors.

Walmart, America's largest private employer, said it will raise wages for 425,000 US workers -- more than a fourth of its workforce -- to at least $13 an hour.

Starting March 13, hourly workers stocking shelves and fulfilling customers' home delivery and curbside pickup orders in stores will receive a starting rate of $13 to $19 an hour, based on the store's location and market, Walmart (WMT) said. Last year, the company raised wages for 165,000 store workers in management roles to a starting rate of $18 an hour.

Overall, approximately half of Walmart employees— around 730,000—will earn at least $15 an hour.

Paving the Payments Future
Americans' Top Policy Priorities for 2021

Economy and COVID-19 Top the Public’s Policy Agenda for 2021

Sharp partisan gaps on addressing race, global climate change

As the United States faces twin crises of high unemployment and a global pandemic, large majorities of Americans want Joe Biden and Congress to prioritize strengthening the economy and addressing the coronavirus outbreak in the coming year.

Yet there are wide partisan gaps over most of the 19 items asked about in a new Pew Research Center survey – particularly addressing racial issues and dealing with global climate change, but also dealing with COVID-19 and reducing the budget deficit.

Taxpayers can start filing now: Electronic filing, including Free File is the best way to avoid pandemic-related paper delays. E-filing combined with direct deposit is the fastest way to get a refund.

Recovery Rebate Credit: If you’re eligible – and either didn’t receive Economic Impact Payments or if you think you qualify for more than you received – you’ll need to file a 2020 tax return and claim the Recovery Rebate Credit even if you otherwise are not required to file a tax return.
Total Household Debt Increased in Q4 2020, Newly Originated Mortgages Reach Record High

Mortgage originations surpassed volumes seen during the refinance boom of 2003

NEW YORK – The Federal Reserve Bank of New York's Center for Microeconomic Data today issued its Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit. The report shows that total household debt increased by $206 billion (1.4%) to $14.56 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2020, driven in part by a steep increase in mortgage originations. The total debt balance is now $414 billion higher than the year prior. The Report is based on data from the New York Fed's Consumer Credit Panel, a nationally representative random sample of individual- and household-level debt and credit records drawn from anonymized Equifax credit data.

Mortgage balances—the largest component of household debt—surpassed $10 trillion in the fourth quarter, increasing by $182 billion to $10.04 trillion at the end of December. While credit card balances increased by $12 billion over the quarter, they were $108 billion lower than they had been at the end of 2019, the largest year over year decline since the series began in 1999. This overall decline is consistent with continued weakness in consumer spending and revolving balance paydowns by card holders.

What does the unemployment rate measure?

The unemployment rate soared from a 50-year low of 3.5 percent to 14.8 percent in April 2020 at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and then fell faster than many forecasters anticipated, to 6.3 percent in January 2021. But the labor market is far from healthy: for instance, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) counted 4.5 million more people as unemployed in January than were unemployed before the pandemic—and many more people weren’t counted as unemployed because they’d stopped looking for work. Here’s a guide to various measures of the health of the labor market.

The headline unemployment rate (known as U-3) measures the percentage of people over the age of 16 who aren’t working but are available and actively looking for work.

Data on unemployment are collected every month in the Current Population Survey (CPS), a survey of about 60,000 households, conducted by the Census and the BLS every month, which includes roughly 105,000 people ages 16 and older.

How family sustaining jobs can power an inclusive recovery in America’s regional economies

America has a wage problem.

Before the pandemic hit, 44% of U.S. families in 2019 did not earn an income that was high enough to cover their families’ living expenses. Markedly, families headed by women (53%), Black (58%), and Latino or Hispanic (57%) individuals and individuals without a high school diploma (65%) are much more likely to be struggling economically.

The COVID-19 pandemic brought the low-wage crisis to new heights, as unemployed and underemployed low-wage workers—particularly women and people of color—face severe economic insecurity. In the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic, the economy shed low-wage jobs at eight times the rate of high-wage jobs.

For those local and regional leaders responsible for crafting economic recovery strategies, there is intense pressure to grow back lost jobs and reconnect workers to them. But how will local leaders know if their recoveries are being driven by higher-quality jobs, and that those jobs are paying enough to lift families out of their current economic insecurity?

Pandemic Drives Historic State Tax Revenue Drop

Pandemic Drives Historic State Tax Revenue Drop

Total state tax revenue was down $46.4 billion from its pre-pandemic level in the four quarters ending June 30, 2020—the past budget year for nearly all states. Tax collections had been growing in most states until the COVID-19 outbreak but then took their steepest plunge in at least 25 years in the final quarter. Although at least some of this drop was expected to be recovered in the third quarter, nearly half of states still project revenue declines this fiscal year. Read more below.

Citi on the hook for $500M blunder, judge rules

Citi lost its legal battle with creditors of cosmetics firm Revlon on Tuesday after a federal judge ruled the asset managers do not need to return $504 million the bank sent them by mistake in August.

After a six-day December trial, Judge Jesse Furman of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled the wire transfers made by Citi, acting as Revlon's loan agent, were "final and complete transactions, not subject to revocation."

Human error led Citi to mistakenly transmit $900 million to creditors on a 2016 Revlon loan, instead of the $7.8 million interest payment it intended to send, the bank said in a court filing in August. Although some asset managers returned about $385 million of the funds, 10 refused, leading to Citi's lawsuit.

Fed officials see economy ‘far from’ where it needs to be, meaning easy policy won’t change soon, minutes show

  • Minutes from the January Fed meeting showed that officials see the economy “far from” the central bank’s goals.
  • Those objectives include a “broad and inclusive” labor market recovery and inflation up to at least 2%.
  • The meeting summary said it likely will “take some time for substantial further progress to be achieved,” meaning policy is unlikely to change soon.

Staggering credit card stats show Americans need next stimulus check

Anticipation is building over the next round of $1,400 stimulus checks. For many, a portion of their relief money may go straight into paying down credit card debt.

Over 45% of U.S. families are still battling credit card debt, says LendingTree’s Value Penguin.

Although Americans' card debt has dipped during the pandemic — as folks cut spending and follow stay-at-home orders — households are still carrying $6,270 in credit card debt on average.

If you take the following shocking credit card statistics into account, it's no surprise many families are holding out for more stimulus relief from President Joe Biden.
1. Card limits total nearly $4 trillion

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