The US President, Donald J. Trump, on Friday struck an optimistic tone urging Americans to stay calm despite the US economy losing a staggering 20.5 million jobs in April with the unemployment rate spiking to 14.7 percent due to the COVID-19 pandemic- the largest unemployment rate since World War II.
Trump said the job losses were expected and promised to bring them back as he hopes to restart the economy, his major bragging point before the Coronavirus pandemic struck, shattering businesses, killing thousands, crashing oil prices and burdening the healthcare industry.
‘It’s fully expected, there’s no surprise,’ Trump told Fox & Friends just moments after the report was released.
‘Somebody said: “Oh, look at this”. Even the Democrats aren’t blaming me for that. What I can do is I can bring it back. Those jobs will all be back, and they’ll be back very soon. And next year we’ll have a phenomenal year.’
Trump’s comments come after nearly 3.2 million laid-off workers applied for jobless benefits in the week ending May 2 and after the US Labor Department released a report on Friday showing the 14.7% unemployement rate, the steepest plunge since the 1930s Great Depression .
The latest figures by the Labor Department do not account for people who lost their jobs in April and didn’t look for another one and would actually be 20 percent if people, including many who have been furloughed workers, are included in the figures .
Larry Kudlow, the White House’s national economic council director, suggested employment figures could get worse as the pandemic continues. and said Trump had tried all he could to lessen the economic effects felt by citizens.
‘I don’t know if it’s as bad as it gets,’ Kudlow told Fox Business Network’s Varney & Co on Friday. ‘I don’t think this pandemic contraction has yet fully run its course.
‘This is a number full of heartbreak and hardship. There’s no way to get around it.’
‘My model’s no better than anybody else’s model. Regarding the next month or two, which are really going to transition into the reopening of the economy, who’s to say the numbers will not get worse,’ he said.
During the Great Depression in the 1930s, the jobless rate reached 25 percent., and now nearly all the job growth achieved during the 11-year recovery from the Great Recession has now been lost April.
The largest monthly job loss prior to April was about 2 million in September 1945 after WWII. In March 2009,during Obama’s tenure, 800,000 jobs were lost during the Great Recession.