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

Go deeper

As techlash heats up again, here's who's stoking the fire

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

As controversies around online speech rage against a backdrop of racial tension, presidential provocation and a pandemic, a handful of companies, lawmakers and advocacy groups have continued to promote a backlash against Big Tech.

The big picture: Companies like Facebook and Google got a reputational boost at the start of the coronavirus lockdown, but that respite from criticism proved brief. They're now once again walking a minefield of regulatory investigations, public criticism and legislative threats over antitrust concerns, content moderation and privacy concerns.

Cities are retooling public transit to lure riders back

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

After being told for months to stay away from others, the idea of being shoulder to shoulder again in a bus or subway terrifies many people, requiring sweeping changes to public transit systems for the COVID-19 era.

Why it matters: Cities can't come close to resuming normal economic activity until large numbers of people feel comfortable using public transportation.

The policies that could help fix policing

 Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

George Floyd's death has reignited the long and frustrating push to reform a law enforcement system whose systemic flaws have been visible for years.

Why it matters: Solving these problems will require deep political, structural and cultural changes, experts and advocates say — but they also point to a handful of specific policy changes that, while not a cure, would make a difference.