May 10, 2020 - Economy & Business

Trump economic adviser says he expects unemployment rate "north of 20%"

White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett said on CBS News' "Face the Nation" on Sunday that he believes the unemployment rate will surpass 20% and peak in May or June.

Why it matters: With April's jobs report showing a catastrophic 14.7% unemployment rate, this is the "biggest negative shock to the jobs market that we've seen since World War II," Hassett said.

  • The unemployment numbers are even worse in Hispanic and black communities, which had previously been experiencing record-low unemployment rates.

Yes, but: Hassett noted that while unemployment numbers match Great Depression levels, the driving forces are different.

  • "There are a lot of economic differences between right now and the Great Depression. Here we understand why the economy is slowing down, and we expect that we can reverse it, whereas in the Depression there were a lot of other things, a lot of policy errors and so on that made the whole thing drag out."
  • Hassett pointed out that the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office forecasts that there will be a recovery in the second half of the year, a view that he says the Trump administration shares.

Go deeper: Unemployment rate soars to 14.7% in April

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