The Fed's economic outlook, rising unemployment claims: What today's news means for your money

The Federal Reserve expects to keep interest rates low as long as the pandemic weighs "heavily" on the economy. Meanwhile, jobless claims jumped back above 1 million.

People walk past the U.S. Federal Reserve building in Washington D.C., the United States, May 21, 2020.
Ting Shen | Xinhua via Getty Images

The Federal Reserve and unemployment claims are making news today. Here's how the headlines could affect your money:

Fed to keep interest rates low as coronavirus 'weighs heavily' on the economy

Investors got a look Wednesday at minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee's July meeting. Central bankers "agreed that the ongoing public health crisis would weigh heavily on economic activity, employment, and inflation in the near term."

The Federal Reserve expects to keep interest rates near zero until it's "confident that the economy had weathered recent events." Low rates benefit borrowers and give savers more incentive to invest.  

Stocks slid Wednesday on the Fed's downbeat economic assessment and were flat Thursday morning as traders digest that and other news.

Weekly jobless claims back above 1 million

Just over 1.1 million people filed for unemployment benefits last week, according to Labor Department figures released Thursday. That's more than economists expected.

The week before, initial jobless claims had dropped below the 1 million mark for the first time since late March.

In better news, continuing claims, meaning people receiving unemployment for at least two consecutive weeks, continued to decline. 

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has also approved funding for 11 states to start providing an extra $300 per week in enhanced unemployment benefits, as laid out under President Trump's executive order earlier this month. Consumers could start receiving that money soon.

Workers are on the hunt for a side hustle

To shore up their finances through the pandemic, 49% of consumers are looking to pick up extra income through a part-time job or side hustle, according to a new survey from FlexJobs and Prudential. 

Assessing your options can pay off: Last year, 73% of side hustlers earned up to $500 a month, Bankrate found. 

How to turn a side hustle into a full-time job, according to Tori Dunlap

Video by Stephen Parkhurst

Words you've heard: Federal Open Market Committee

The Federal Open Market Committee, or FOMC, is the group of Federal Reserve policymakers tasked with making monetary policy decisions — most notably, setting interest rates. The committee meets eight times a year. 

Investors closely monitor the news that comes out of the FOMC meetings, like the minutes released Wednesday, for clues on the Fed's next moves and what it could mean for their portfolios. They also pay attention because Fed news itself can move markets.

Although the daily news can have an impact on your wallet, remember to take a long-term outlook when it comes to decisions on spending, saving, and investing.

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