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Trump advisers optimistic for quick rebound despite alarm over unemployment, business closures

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  • Trump’s economic team is optimistic about a quick economic recovery.
  • “I’ve been really positively impressed by how quickly things are turning around,” said White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett on Monday.
  • But other policymakers are warning of a protracted downturn given the surge of unemployment claims and wave of small business closures.
  • Nearly 3 million Americans sought unemployment benefits last week, bringing the total to 36 million over the past two months.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

President Trump’s economic advisers are striking an optimistic tone on the state of the American economy. Many predict a quick economic rebound despite alarm from experts over the effects of persistent unemployment and a wave of small business closures deepening the downturn.

The Washington Post reported that the White House has been buoyed by gains in the stock market, which posted a 912-point spike on Monday with encouraging news about the development of a coronavirus vaccine.

The advisers’ comments on Monday illustrate their confidence in the economy as they downplay the need for another federal stimulus to shore it up:

  • Economic adviser Kevin Hassett: “I’ve been really positively impressed by how quickly things are turning around.”
  • National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow: “Unemployment claims look terrible, but they look a lot less terrible. Things are starting to turn — that’s my take.”

President Trump also said on Monday that consumer activity would bounce back quickly. But the pandemic’s effects on the economy are not easing, experts say.

Another 3 million Americans filed for unemployment last week, bringing the total to 36 million people over the last two months who sought benefits. Economists also project over 100,000 small businesses have permanently closed their doors so far, according to a recent study from researchers at Harvard University, the University of Chicago, Harvard Business School, and the University of Illinois.

Many economists say unemployment could remain high going into 2021 even with another round of stimulus. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projects that the unemployment rate will hover around 10% for much of next year.

Read more: GOLDMAN SACHS: Buy these 21 cheap under-the-radar stocks that offer market-beating growth potential right now

White House officials, though, say they will support another round of spending if it’s warranted, and they’re gauging the effects of states like Georgia reopening their economies. Over $3 trillion in spending has already gone out the door under the CARES Act and other legislative packages since March.

“It’s at least appropriate to see how they go,” Hassett told The Post.

Other policymakers are calling for immediate action. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell urged lawmakers last week to consider passing further spending measures and avoid deepening the downturn.

“In the long run, and even in the medium run, you wouldn’t want to bet against the American economy. This economy will recover,” Powell said in a “60 Minutes” interview that aired Sunday. “It may take a while. It may take a period of time. It could stretch through the end of next year.”

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