21:29 GMT03 March 2021
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    US President Joe Biden's economic relief plan rollout comes a day after the US Department of Labor announced some 900,000 additional Americans filed for unemployment insurance during the week ending in January 16.

    While delivering remarks on the economy Thursday, Biden presented a grim outlook by asserting the US is currently facing uncommon economic hurdles that will require federal intervention within the next several months. 

    “We remain in a once-in-a-century public health crisis that has led to the most unequal job and economic crisis in modern history. And the crisis is only deepening,” he remarked during an address held on his second full day in office.  

    The US president also stressed that it is necessary that Congress looks at his $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill, which includes the third round of direct relief payments to Americans and $416 billion in funding for the administration's push to vaccinate 100 million Americans and reopen US schools within the first 100 days of the presidency.

    "We cannot, will not, let people go hungry. We cannot let people be evicted because of nothing they did themselves," he declared. "We cannot watch people lose their jobs and we have to act. We have to act now. It's not just to meet the moral obligation to treat our fellow Americans with the dignity and respect they deserve." 

    Biden went on to sign two executive orders, one of which seeks to increase food aid and assist unemployed Americans. The other order lays the groundwork for federal workers and contractors to get a $15-an-hour minimum wage.

    "Today, I am signing an executive order that directs the whole of government effort to help millions of Americans who are badly hurting, requires all federal agencies to do what they can do to do to provide relief to families, small businesses and communities. In the days ahead I expect agencies to act," Biden said during a signing ceremony on Friday.

    President specifically asked the Department of Agriculture to look for immediate measures "to make it easier for the hardest-hit families to enroll and claim more generous benefits in the critical food and nutrition assistance area." 

    The US president's executive intervention comes a day after new figures from the DoL showed US jobless claims sitting at 900,000 Mark Zandi, a chief economist for Moody's Analytics, says claims would be somewhere around 200,000 in a "typical economy."

    The still-high unemployment rate comes amid the US' steadily growing COVID-19 death toll.

    "A lot of America is hurting. The virus is surging. We are [at] 400,000 dead [and] expected to reach over 600,000," Biden highlighted Friday.

    Overall, the US has logged more than 24.7 million cases of the novel coronavirus and at least 412,780 deaths related to the contagious disease, according to the Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 dashboard


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    US Department of Labor, relief, US economy, unemployment, Joe Biden
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