White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow attempted to strike an optimistic tone on April’s historically bad unemployment numbers on Sunday, insisting that there was a “glimmer of hope” in the report showing over 20 million jobs lost and the unemployment rate surging to nearly 15 percent.
Asked on ABC’s This Week to react to President Donald Trump’s recent promise that “all” of the jobs will quickly come back, Kudlow said that he didn’t “want to sugarcoat” the devastating economic situation amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic—before going on and sugarcoating it.
“Inside the numbers there’s a glimmer of hope,” Kudlow said. “We have 80 percent of it was furloughs and temporary layoffs. That, by the way, doesn’t assure that you will go back to a job, but it says strongly that the cord between the worker and the business is still intact. I think, hopefully, that has something to do with the $3 trillion of assistance, including the payroll protection plan.”
Anchor George Stephanopoulos noted that Democrats are now pushing for additional coronavirus funding that would include more aid for food stamps, state governments and expanded testing, wondering aloud why the Trump administration has pushed back on the plan.
“I’m not saying now’s not the time,” Kudlow replied. “I think many people would like to just pause for a moment and take a little at the economic impact of this massive assistance program, which is the greatest in the United States’ history. That’s all that’s being said.”
While he Trump adviser did admit that May’s jobs numbers would be “also very difficult” and that the impact of businesses reopening amid relaxed social-distancing policies would “take a while,” he also claimed that the economy would experience a massive rebound fairly quickly.
“Look, what we have done may not be 100 percent perfect,” Kudlow declared, adding: “It’s working, we’re preparing to reopen the economy. When we do, according to the CBO, we’ll see a very strong second half of the year. Probably 20 percent economic growth.”
Kudlow has long painted a rosy outlook throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Back in late-February, the conservative economist infamously declared that the coronavirus had been contained “pretty close to airtight” and that the American public could be confident that there wouldn’t be an “economic tragedy.”
Since making those comments, which he has repeatedly defended as being “based on the actual facts,” over 30 million Americans have filed for unemployment assistance and roughly 80,000 have died from the deadly disease.