Unemployment rate could exceed 20% by June, top White House adviser says

Kelly Gooch - Print  | 

In a weekend interview, White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett projected the nation's unemployment rate to surpass 20 percent, according to The Washington Post.

The interview occurred days after the latest jobs report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showed the nation lost 20.5 million jobs in April, and the jobless rate reached 14.7 percent, the highest since the Great Depression. The number does not include people who are considered underemployed, or those who are not looking for jobs.

Mr. Hassett, on CBS's "Face the Nation" May 10, said he believes May or June would be the low point for unemployment at "north of 20" percent.

"There are more than 30 million people that are getting initial claims for unemployment insurance. That's the biggest negative shock to the jobs market that we've seen since World War II," he told host Margaret Brennan.

"To get unemployment rates like the ones that we're about to see, which I think will climb up toward 20 percent by next month, you have to really go back to the Great Depression to see that," he added.

Still, Mr. Hassett expressed economic optimism amid the COVID-19 pandemic. "Here, we understand why the economy is slowing down," he said. "And we expect that we can reverse it." 

Read the Post's full story here.


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