WASHINGTON, D.C. (NEXSTAR) — The national unemployment rate is creeping towards 15 percent, according to staggering numbers released Friday.
This was the first monthly jobs report out since the country went into economic lockdown.
Some economists said it’s going to get worse as lawmakers scramble to respond.
The department of labor says more than 20 million jobs were lost in April, pushing the national unemployment rate to the worst levels since the Great Depression.
“We knew this was the sort of news we would be hearing today,” said Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI).
Baldwin said Congress must pass another relief package.
“So I know that we will soon see an unveiling of a legislative proposal which the House would take action on,” she said.
While Congress debates what to do next, experts like Georegtown University public policy professor Harry Holzer said the short-term outlook isn’t good.
“I would expect us to get up to 20 percent or higher unemployment, on top of the people dropping out of the labor force, on top of the people being forced to work part time,” he said.
Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, also expects rough weeks ahead.
“May is going to be another tough month,” Kudlow said.
However, Kudlow said he also expects a fast economic rebound.
“2021 could be a fantastic year, you can really get a big, big, big, big recovery in 2021,” said Kudlow, who also serves as an economic advisor to the White House.
Holzer doesn’t share that optimism, and many experts agree a lot of the jobs lost won’t ever return.
“It looks like the bounceback will be prolonged and painful,” he said.
Holzer also worries a second or third wave of the virus could cause more shutdowns.
“Some people are starting to talk about a w-shaped recovery rather than a v-shaped,” he said.
The House could present its new relief proposal as early as next week.