Unemployment rates sparked by the coronavirus pandemic could remain in the double digits through the presidential election in November, White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett said on Sunday.
Hassett said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that he expects the unemployment rate will rise to “north of 20 percent in May,” adding that it may not drop back to single digits by the fall.
Asked if he thinks unemployment could be in double digits in November, Hassett said “yes, I do.”
“Unemployment will be something that moves back slower,” he added.
Hassett said it’s possible the unemployment rate will be in single digits in November, but unlikely.
He said he would be “more optimistic,” however, if a coronavirus vaccine is available in July.
High unemployment rates heading into the general election could pose an extra hurdle for Trump’s reelection campaign, which wouldn’t be able to tout a strong economy.
Unemployment rates have reached record levels amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The jobless rate in three states, Hawaii, Michigan and Nevada, last month exceeded 20 percent, according to Labor Department figures. The data showed that 43 states have reached record-high unemployment.