White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow maintained the U.S. economy is rapidly recovering from the worst downturn since the Great Depression despite a resurgence in coronavirus cases across the country.
"There's a huge housing boom. There's a retailing boom. That's an automobile boom. Trucking is still very strong," Kudlow said during a Monday interview on FOX Business. "We've had a jobs boom, so far. And contrary to some poor reading, unemployment claims and continuing claims are falling rapidly, and the July jobs number on unemployment and job increases I think is going to look pretty good."
Data last week showed that sales of existing homes jumped 20.7 percent in June after falling 9.7 percent the month before. Another report showed that manufacturing came back strong in June, expanding for the first time since February.
And although the Labor Department's weekly jobless claims report showed the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits rose for the first time in nearly four months, continuing claims -- or the people receiving benefits after an initial week of aid -- shrank by more than 1 million, suggesting employers are recalling laid-off workers.
"We're looking carefully at any moderation in the story. I get that, and there will be some in July. But I think the 'V-shaped' recovery and the 20 percent second-half growth is still very much intact," he said.
He conceded that spikes in COVID-19 cases in Texas, California and Florida have flattened economic activity in those states but noted that most parts of the country have rolled back earlier restrictions and allowed businesses to reopen.
Kudlow's comments come as Republican senators prepare to unveil the next $1 trillion stimulus package, which is expected to extend — but reduce substantially — just-expired expanded unemployment benefits, send a fresh round of $1,200 stimulus check to American adults earning less than $75,000 in August and funnel tens of billions of dollars in aid to schools and universities.
Congress has already approved three massive stimulus packages totaling nearly $3 trillion to offset the economic pain triggered by the outbreak of the virus and subsequent lockdown.
That includes the $2.2 trillion CARES Act signed into law at the end of March, which sent one-time payments of up to $1,200 to Americans; established the Paycheck Protection Program and expanded unemployment benefits by $600 per week through the end of July.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has echoed the sentiment of a strong recovery from the virus outbreak and subsequent economic shutdown.
“We always said the second quarter was going to be a very bad quarter, again that’s not for economic reasons, that’s for health reasons," Mnuchin said on Sunday during an interview on Fox News. “So we do think you’re going to see a very big rebound."
The U.S. has more than 4.2 million confirmed COVID-19 cases, the most in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University. At least 146,968 people have died as a result of the virus.