The White House’s top economic official expressed uncertainty on Thursday that America’s economy would swiftly rebound from the downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic, striking a more cautious tone about the recovery than President Trump has in recent days.
Larry Kudlow, director of the White House National Economic Council, said there are some “small glimmers of hope” and voiced optimism about a dramatic improvement this summer. But he emphasized the coronavirus still poses a unique and unpredictable threat to the nation’s economy and that the overall picture appears bleak.
“Look, it’s really hard to model a virus, a pandemic, the likes of which we have not seen for 100 years,” Kudlow said at a Washington Post Live event. “The numbers coming in are not good. In fact, they are downright bad in most cases. But we are seeing some glimmers, perhaps … there’s a lot of heartbreak here. There’s a lot of hardship here. There’s a lot of anxiety here. It’s a very difficult situation.”
Kudlow’s remark suggests Trump’s eager touting of a “tremendous” economic recovery may not be the phrasing used by some of his senior advisers as they confront the crisis and troubling data. On Thursday, the Department of Labor reported that 2.4 million Americans filed jobless claims last week, with close to 39 million filing jobless claims since the pandemic began hammering the U.S. economy in March.
The president has for weeks predicted a rapid economic recovery, saying in early April it will take off “like a rocket ship.”
“I think they’re forecasting a very fast bounce back. I mean, I see great optimism,” Trump said earlier this week.
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