Hassett: We Could See an Unemployment Rate ‘North of 20%’

Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union,” White House senior economic adviser Kevin Hassett warmed the unemployment rate would soon be “north of 20%.”

Guest host Dana Bash said, “Do you think the worst effects of the coronavirus pandemic behind us or is the worst still to come?”

Hassett said, “I think we’ll still see more bad data because the data tend to be in the rearview mirror. If you look at employment or businesses or percentage of businesses that are open or even the credit card data which we get a peek at, then you can see things pretty much inflicted in early May. So my expectation is since there’s still initial claims for unemployment insurance in may, that the unemployment rate will be higher in June than in May, but then after that it should start to trend down. So I think we’re very, very close to an inflection point in terms of business activity and probably a month away in terms of employment.”

Bash asked, “You think unemployment is going to be even higher?”

Hassett said, “Yeah, it’s going to be quite a bit higher. And there were some technical things that kind of messed up, it could be an economics lecture if we go into them, but if they fix the things from last time, you’ll end up with a number north of 20%.”

Bash asked if “it’s possible that unemployment will be in double digits in November.”

Hassett replied, “Yes, I do. But I think that all the signs of economic recovery are going to be raging everywhere.”

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN


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