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Will There Be Another Stimulus Check? Only if These 3 Things Happen

When the American Rescue Plan was signed into law in mid-March, many people were thrilled to see $1,400 stimulus checks hit their bank accounts. In fact, plenty of people are still holding out hope that we'll see a fourth stimulus check -- if not sometime this year, then perhaps early next.

But at this point, the likelihood of a follow-up stimulus round is waning. The economy is in a much better place now than it was when the American Rescue Plan was passed. And with the widespread availability of coronavirus vaccines, we're now in a different place with the pandemic as well.

Still, it is possible we'll see another stimulus round in the near term. For that to happen, though, these events would likely need to occur.

1. The jobless rate rises significantly

In April of 2020, the national unemployment rate reached a record high of 14.8%. By March of 2021, the jobless rate had fallen to 6%. And most recently, in June, the unemployment rate was 5.9%.

At this point, there's a good chance the jobless rate will keep dropping as businesses look to reopen in full. And if unemployment continues to decline, it'll be difficult to make the case for another stimulus check.

That said, if the unemployment situation takes a turn for the worse, we could see another round of stimulus payments go out. But to be clear, the jobless rate would really need to jump up substantially for that to happen. If it rises to 6% or 6.1% in July or August, that won't be enough to justify a fourth stimulus check.

2. The outbreak gets worse

Unfortunately, the highly transmissible Delta variant is now the country's predominant COVID-19 strain, and in recent weeks, the outbreak has been expanding. Thankfully, things aren't as dire as they were at the start of the pandemic, or even during the surges last winter.

But the situation is serious enough that the CDC recently changed course on mask-wearing and is now advising even fully vaccinated people to put on a mask when indoors in a public setting. If the outbreak really explodes, that alone could trigger more relief talks, which could lead to another stimulus check.

3. States start shutting down again

Early on in the pandemic, many states imposed lockdowns in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19. That meant that nonessential businesses weren't allowed to operate, which led to the loss of millions of jobs within weeks.

While we may not see the same extreme shutdowns at this stage of the pandemic, states could start imposing restrictions and capacity limits for businesses again. That could, in turn, hinder a lot of local economic recoveries. And if that happens, it'll be easier to make the argument that the public needs another round of direct aid.

Don't wish for another stimulus check

While a fourth stimulus check would certainly be nice, the reality is that nobody should wish for any of the above things to happen. So while it would be premature to say that another stimulus check is definitely off the table, we should focus our energy on hoping we don't need one.

Besides, there are other ways to snag a windfall outside of a stimulus check, like getting a side hustle to drum up extra cash. And parents who are eligible for the Child Tax Credit will get monthly payments through the end of the year, plus another lump sum in 2022. So while there may not be more stimulus money available, there are other ways Americans can boost their bank accounts.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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