Record high unemployment, economic downturn likely to get worse before better

Consumer

WASHINGTON- The national unemployment rate is going up—and it is now creeping towards 15%. Economists say it is likely to get worse.

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.

While Congress debates what to do next, experts like Georgetown University Public Policy Professor Harry Holzer say the short-term outlook isn’t good.

“I would expect us to get up to 20% 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,” Holzer said.

Larry Kudlow, Director of the National Economic Council also expects rough weeks ahead.

“May is going to be another tough month,” said Kudlow.

However, Kudlow, the White House economic advisor says 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,” Kudlow said.

But Holzer doesn’t share that optimism, and many experts agree a lot of the jobs lost won’t ever return.

“It looks like the bounce-back will be prolonged and painful,” said Holzer.

He 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,” said Holzer.

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