White House sees jobless rate hitting 16% or higher in April


A top White House economic adviser on Sunday (April 26) gave a stark, blunt forecast for the U.S. economy:

(SOUNDBITE) (English) WHITE HOUSE ECONOMIC ADVISER KEVIN HASSETT, SAYING:

“You know I think the next couple of months are going to look terrible. You’re going to see numbers that are as bad as anything that we’ve ever seen. I think the unemployment rate is going to jump to a level probably around 16 percent or even higher in the next jobs report.”

Kevin Hassett told reporters that economic growth could turn negative by as much as twenty or thirty percent between spring and summer.

Nationwide lockdowns amid the current health crisis are battering businesses.

A record 26.5 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits since mid-March.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that unlike other economic crises, this one was self-inflicted, and that gave him optimism that the recovery could be swift.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. TREASURY SECRETARY STEVEN MNUCHIN, SAYING:

"This is not a financial crisis. This is, we shut down. So the traditional economic models may work, they may not work. What i do think is that as we open up the economy in May and June, you will begin to see the economy bounce back in July, August, September. And my expectation is that you’ll see an increasing rate of growth in those three months.”

(SOUNDBITE) (English) WHITE HOUSE ECONOMIC ADVISER KEVIN HASSETT, SAYING:

"The good news is that all these policies that we've adopted have hopefully built a bridge to the other side of that stop."

Hassett said White House advisers were working to come up with several options to present to President Donald Trump for he called "big thoughtful policies" to help rebuild the economy.