A White House economic adviser cautioned Sunday that the unemployment rate could grow “north of 20 percent” in May and remain in double-digits through the November presidential election.
Kevin Hassett was asked on CNN’s “State of the Union” whether unemployment for this month will surpass April’s rate of 14.7 percent.
“Yes, it’s going to be quite a bit higher,” he said, citing some technical miscalculations. “But it could be, if they fix the numbers and fix the thing that they mischaracterized last time, that you will end up with a number north of 20 percent in May.”
Asked whether he thinks those levels could continue through the general election with President Trump on the ballot, Hassett said, “Yes, I do.”
“Unemployment will be something that moves back slower. I think it could be better than that. But you’re going to be starting at a number in the 20s and working your way down,” Hassett said.
“And so, of course, you could still not be back to full employment by September or October,” he continued, adding that he would be more optimistic if a vaccine came out in July.
According to federal data released last week, 2.4 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits the week before, bringing the total jobless number to more than 38 million in the past nine weeks.
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