White House Adviser Hassett: May Unemployment Could Climb to 20%

Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union,” White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett said it was possible the unemployment rate could go as high as 20% in May.

Anchor Jake Tapper asked, “How high do you think unemployment is going to get this year?”

Hassett said, “You know, I think just looking at the flow of initial claims, that it looks like we’re probably going to get close to 20% in the next report, depending on whether the virus has really abated by that point and economies are getting going again, then it could start to head down from there. But I would guess sort of middle of the summer is when we’ll start to go into the transition phase. Then I expect that by the second half of the year, the CBO forecast is what we hope will be right, which will be that you’ll have very strong growth in the third and fourth quarters.”

He added, “We basically stopped the greatest economy on earth to save lives, and I think that we’re very glad we’ve saved lots of lives, we’re very glad we’ve done that, now we’re gradually turning the economy back on. If you go from a stopped economy to an economy that’s turning back on, it kind of necessarily needs to be trajecting up. It’s not a mystery why the Congressional Budget Office expects the second half of the year to be stronger.”

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN

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