Donald Trump struck an optimistic tone after record unemployment numbers were reported on Friday, saying he is confident in his ability to turn the economy around again.
As CNN reported, a record 20.5 million Americans lost their job in the month of April, sending the once historically low unemployment rate soaring to 14.7 percent. The job losses have come as a result of coronavirus restrictions that forced non-essential businesses to close and others remaining open to slash their workforce. The report noted that the big losses in April came on top of another 870,000 jobs that were lost in March during the first few weeks of the nation’s coronavirus crisis.
The report noted that the sharp losses led to fears that the economy could be in for a long-term downturn, as was the case after the 2008 financial crisis.
“It took years to rebound from those setbacks. When the economy eventually did crawl back, US employers added 22.8 million jobs over 10 years — a victory for all those who had weathered the Great Recession,” the report noted.
Trump has expressed hope at a quicker turnaround from the current crisis. Speaking to Fox News on Friday after the release of the unemployment numbers, the president said that the current downturn was expected given the stringent measures put in place to slow the coronavirus and was confident he could fix the situation.
“What I can do: I’ll bring it back,” Trump said, via Global News.
“It’s fully expected. There’s no surprise. Everybody knows that. Even the Democrats aren’t blaming me for that.”
The report added that the sharp downturn could be particularly harmful to re-election chances for Trump, who through three years in the White House has touted the strong economy as one of his key accomplishments.
There is disagreement among economists on whether Trump’s prediction of a fast recovery will come true. As The Inquisitr reported, analyst Stephen Collinson wrote that the surge in unemployment claims and the high number of businesses forced to close will have a much longer effect on the American economy.
“Each individual claim represents a life on edge,” he wrote in an analysis for CNN.
“People who never had their hands out before are going to food banks, and the unemployment rate is suddenly approaching Great Depression territory. It’s the same story around the world.”
While some states have started to lift restrictions and allow some businesses to reopen, it was not yet clear when others would be able to follow suit or when they would be able to lift all restrictions. Some public health experts have predicted that some measure of social distancing will need to remain in place until an effective vaccine is created, which could take a year or more.