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President Trump’s chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow reacted Friday to the U.S. losing more than 700,000 jobs in March saying he thinks “the numbers are also going to be very poor” in the weeks ahead.
“This is an interruption of what was a very prosperous economy, it is an interruption from the virus and the necessary mitigation efforts to deal with the virus,” Kudlow said on “America’s Newsroom” on Friday.
He added that “this is a very deep contraction.”
“The numbers are going to come in very badly, they are going to look terrible in the weeks ahead,” he said.
He did not want to forecast exactly how long unemployment numbers will be “very poor,” saying “that's up to the health people.”
The U.S. lost 701,000 jobs in March, snapping a decade-long record of employment growth, as strict measures to contain the coronavirus pandemic shuttered businesses and forced Americans to stay at home. It was the first decline in payrolls since September 2010, and the steepest since March 2009, in the midst of the Great Recession.
The unemployment rate jumped to 4.4 percent, up from a half-century low of 3.5 percent in February.
Kudlow said the Trump administration's efforts to revive the economy in the face of the pandemic are "historic."
“We have devoted enormous resources and work with our rescue package to add cash and liquidity, try to keep individuals and families, keep them afloat, keep their small businesses afloat," Kudlow said.
“We've worked and coordinated with the Federal Reserve, [which] was never before. The total package is 6.2 trillion dollars, that’s about a third of [Gross Domestic Product] GDP, a third of our economy, that's how widespread and massive [the stimulus package is]. This is a historic effort.”
Kudlow acknowledged that the current situation is “tough,” adding, “We're doing everything we can to deal with it and make it perhaps a little easier.”
“We’re trying to save jobs, save payrolls and save businesses so that, and this is maybe the key point, when this virus runs its course, as it will, it is not permanent, this is a temporary issue, as it runs its course, the American economy will be ready to snap back,” he continued. “I believe that’s going to happen well before the end of the year.”
Last week, President Trump signed a more than $2 trillion legislative package to combat the coronavirus pandemic and send economic relief to workers and businesses squeezed by restrictions meant to stop the outbreak’s spread after the House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved the legislation earlier in the day.
The legislation amounts to the costliest stimulus plan in U.S. history. It includes checks for most Americans, boosted unemployment aid, help for small business as well as a massive loan fund for corporations.
When host Sandra Smith asked Kudlow what the exact timeline is to get the economy running again he said, “The first thing is really to implement this phase three assistance plan. To implement it, execute it, to make sure it gets to all the men and women and families and businesses and so forth, that's really priority number one.”
“The second point I'll make is this pandemic and the mitigation effects essentially interrupted what was a very strong economic boom from prior policies and the private sector coming alive,” he added. “I say that because I believe the economy is fundamentally sound.”
He went on to say once “this interruption” is over, “then I think people will come back strong and I think business will come back strong.”
Kudlow said he doesn’t think “it’s going to take years and decades to recover from this.”
“We've had health waves, problems like this before, we’ve come back pretty rapidly,” he noted.
“I may be wrong, but I will maintain, as I think most people, most economists believe, that this virus, the pandemic and the actions to mitigate it are temporary and therefore, the difficulties and the interruptions I talked about will prove to be temporary," Kudlow stressed.
“Our job right now is to help as many Americans as we can with this assistance so they can get through this. That's our job. But I think at some point it will be over. It will wash through."
Fox Business’ Megan Henney and Fox News’ Marisa Schultz and Chad Pergram contributed to this report.