Fox host Chris Wallace pointed out that unemployment is quickly approaching Great Depression-era levels. The official unemployment rate hit 14.7 percent in April, a mark that doesn’t include millions of workers who aren’t searching for jobs or the “underemployed.”
“These are not large numbers because the economy wasn’t doing well, these are large numbers because we shut down the economy,” Mnuchin said, arguing the high unemployment rate is a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has predicted a 9.5 percent unemployment rate at the end of 2021. But Mnuchin argued his numbers aren’t “rosy” — rather he predicts the reported numbers are “probably” going to get worse before they get better.
“You’re going to have a very, very bad second quarter, and then I think you’re going to see a bounce back from a low standpoint,” he said.
The U.S. will “have a better third quarter,” he said. “We’ll have a better fourth quarter, and next year is going to be a great year.”
In the meantime, Mnuchin said the administration is still pushing for a payroll tax cut in Congress’ next stimulus package, which would allow workers to take home more of their paychecks.
It will be “one of the components,” he predicted.
Still, not all Senate Republicans have embraced the demand, with some arguing it would impact Social Security and that it would do nothing for the millions of unemployed Americans.