Trump Says Unemployment Would Be Worse Without China Restriction

Alex Wayne

(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump claimed that U.S. unemployment claims would have been even worse if he hadn’t restricted travel from China in late January to try to stave off the coronavirus outbreak.

New claims for unemployment benefits surged to a record 3.28 million in the last week as Americans began “social distancing” themselves and the economy sputtered.

“It’s nobody’s fault, certainly not in this country,” Trump said at a White House news conference on Thusday. “We got very lucky,” he said, again complimenting himself for his Jan. 31 decision to restrict travel from China, where the outbreak began.

“Some people don’t want to accept that this was a great decision,” Trump said. The unemployment numbers, he said, would be “far greater, far bigger. I heard it could be 6 million, could be 7 million. It’s a lot of jobs. We’ll come back very strong.”

The top estimate for unemployment claims in a Bloomberg survey conducted before Thursday’s announcement was 4.4 million.

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