In a Friday interview on Fox Business Channel’s “Mornings with Maria,” Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia weighed in on the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on the United States economy and employment as nearly 17 million Americans have filed for unemployment in the last three weeks.
Scalia would not provide an estimate for how high unemployment will reach in the country, but said he thinks “30% overstates” how high it could be.
“[W]e’ve never seen unemployment filings this high, as you know, Dagen,” Scalia advised. “And a couple of things to bear in mind. One is that these numbers reflect a different economic environment than typical. This is the result of purposeful and short-term decisions being made to pause business activity. So, they’re different in that way. It’s also a different circumstance in that the economy was just so strong as you and I have discussed before — just weeks ago. So, we’ve come into this situation from a very different position and for very different reasons. Where it leads now is not entirely clear because it’s a different circumstance. I think we’ll continue to see filings, but at some point, we do expect them to slow down.
Host Dagen McDowell asked Scalia how high he estimates the unemployment rate to reach.
“I couldn’t give you a precise estimate. I wouldn’t want to guess in that way with you, Dagen,” he replied. “I think 30% overstates it, but I do think it’s important we recognize also all that the president and Congress have done to provide for people who are experiencing this unemployment right now.”