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Trump's senior economic adviser said unemployment could pass 20% by June and remain at double digits through November

kevin hassett
  • Senior White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett said US unemployment rates are likely to spike in June at "north of 20%" and could still be in the double digits through November. 
  • "If there were a vaccine in July, then I'd be way more optimistic about it," Hassett said on CNN's "State of the Union," referencing how consumer activity and markets have been shaken by the novel coronavirus. 
  • November coincides with the US general election,  and high unemployment rates could spell trouble for President Donald Trump as he was banking on a strong economy to help his reelection campaign. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Senior White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett said that unemployment rates sparked by the novel coronavirus pandemic will start to trend downward in June, but could still be in double-digits this fall.
Hassett said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday morning that the US unemployment rate will be higher in June than May before starting to trend down, three months after the coronavirus crisis triggered a record amount of layoffs and furloughs.
US employment will likely be at "a number north of 20% in May," Hassett said.
Host Dana Bash later asked Hassett if it was possible the unemployment rate could still be in the double digits in November, which the adviser said he did.
"I think that yes, unemployment will be something that moves back slower," Hassett said.
He continued: "You're going to be starting at a number in the 20s and working your way down and so, of course, you could still not be back to full employment by September or October."
"If there were a vaccine in July, then I'd be way more optimistic about it," he added, referencing how consumer activity and markets have been shaken by the pandemic.
Though there are more than 100 ongoing coronavirus vaccine projects, experts have said a widely distributable vaccine won't be available until early 2021 and have cautioned against speedy approvals.
November coincides with the US presidential election, and high unemployment rates could stifle President Donald Trump's chances at reelection as he was banking on a strong economy to help his campaign.
In late March, Trump went against the advice of public-health experts and urged the economy to reopen after coronavirus lockdown measures, downplaying the threat of the coronavirus outbreak to salvage his strongest case for reelection, Business Insider's Eliza Relman previously reported.
According to a report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics published on May 22, three of the worst-hit US states had unemployment rates higher than 20%. Nevada had the highest unemployment rate in April — 28.2% — followed by Michigan at 22.7%, and Hawaii at 22.3%.
Overall, 43 states set historic levels of unemployment in April, the report said.

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