Trump Economic Adviser Sees Economic Rebound in Second Half of 2020 Despite 'Very Difficult' May Job Numbers

Larry Kudlow, the director of President Donald Trump's National Economic Council, has cautioned that the job numbers for May will be "very difficult" as was the report published for April last week, but he projected that there would be an economic "rebound" in the second half of the year.

Kudlow gave his stark but somewhat optimistic assessment of the current economic situation in the country during a Saturday evening interview with Fox New host Jeanine Pirro. Although the economic adviser suggested that things would get worse in the near future as the coronavirus pandemic continues, he also projected that the situation would improve quickly later in the year.

"There's a lot of heartbreak and a lot of hardship behind those numbers. There's no question about that. This is– I call it a pandemic contraction," Kudlow said. The economic adviser pointed out this was largely due to the mitigation steps required to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus in the country.

Larry Kudlow and Donald Trump
Director of the National Economic Council Larry Kudlow speaks as President Donald Trump looks on during a briefing on the novel coronavirus pandemic at the White House on March 24 in Washington, D.C. Drew Angerer/Getty

"I don't want to sugarcoat any of this because it's so difficult. I don't think the numbers are going to turn up in the next few weeks. I think in May, the job figures are going to be very difficult," the Trump adviser added.

But Kudlow noted that the Congressional Budget Office as well as many economic analysts have forecast a strong improvement later in 2020. He also pointed out that the majority of workers who are currently unemployed have been furloughed, meaning they have a job waiting when it is safe to reopen.

"If you want a glimmer of hope Jeanine, on the job numbers out yesterday, the 20 million loss, about 80 percent were furloughs, they were temporary layoffs, as reported by the individuals who were surveyed," he said.

The Department of Labor released its much anticipated April jobs report on Friday, showing that more than 20 million jobs had been lost in the month as the official unemployment rate jumped to 14.7 percent. That's a double-digit surge of more than 11 percent since February, when unemployment remained at a historic low of 3.5 percent.

"This is by far the largest contraction in the history of the data series, which goes back to 1939. To put that in perspective, prior to this month the largest monthly contraction came in September 1945, when the economy lost 1.96 million jobs," Ryan Detrick, senior market strategist for LPL Financial, said in a statement emailed to Newsweek.

Economists have previously predicted that the unemployment rate could rise to somewhere between 20 percent and 30 percent in the coming months. To put that in perspective, the highest unemployment rate in U.S. history came in 1933 during the height of the Great Depression, rising to 24.9 percent. During the Great Recession, it peaked at 9.9 percent in 2009.

"I struggle to even put into words how large this drop is. It's as if all the gains in employment since 2000 were wiped out," Elise Gould, senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute, wrote in a Friday blog post in response to the April jobs report. "Total job losses over the last two months would fill all 30 currently empty Major League Baseball stadiums 16 times over. It's as if all the jobs in all of the states beginning with the letter 'M' simply disappeared in the last month," she added.