Trump assembling council on US economic reboot

Task force may be called the 'Opening Our Country Council'

Get all the latest news on coronavirus and more delivered daily to your inbox. Sign up here.

Continue Reading Below

The Trump administration has begun preparing to return Americans to work, with the White House estimating the world's largest economy will restart in four to eight weeks after a virtual shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The president is forming a task force to be announced on Tuesday, which may be called the 'Opening Our Country Council,' and will comprise bipartisan business leaders across the U.S.

CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS CHECKS: WHO GETS WHAT

The White House declined FOX Business' request for further details.

The group will likely begin by assessing ideas such as reopening areas on a "rolling basis" provided it is safe to do so amid a pandemic that has infected 1.7 million people worldwide with COVID-19, a viral disease whose effects range from mild symptoms to death, depending on the patient. More than 100,000 people have lost their lives.

Roughly 17 million Americans have been laid off in just the past several weeks as the illness forced authorities to close non-essential businesses to prevent its spread, leaving many without a paycheck and unable to meet financial obligations such as rent, mortgages and food.

Speaking to FOX Business late Friday, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow described the hit to the economy as "perfectly dreadful" but predicted better days ahead.

"This is temporary; the virus will be defeated and America will go back to work," he said. "This is an incentive-driven economy."

POWELL EXPECTS 'ROBUST' ECONOMIC RECOVERY FROM CORONAVIRUS DOWNTURN

To be clear, if the coronavirus does not abate in the expected time frame, the restarting of America's economy will remain in limbo.

"We hope we are going to be able to fulfill a certain date,  but we are not doing anything until we know that this country is healthy," Trump said. "The facts are going to determine what we do."

UNEMPLOYMENT COULD BECOME EYE-POPPING

Many economists say the U.S. is already in a recession and see the economy contracting by double digits in the second and possibly third quarters before rebounding in the fourth.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, who has led the central bank in lowering interesting rates and offering trillions of dollars in credit to ease the pain, is in the rebound camp.

“When the spread of the virus is under control, businesses will reopen, and people will come back to work. There is every reason to believe that the economic rebound, when it comes, can be robust," he said during a Brookings Institution webinar earlier this week.

Financial markets have begun to signal some optimism, too.

The S&P 500, one of the broadest measures of U.S. stocks, clocked a gain of 12 percent this week, its best since 1974, as tracked by the Dow Jones Market Data Group.

"I think we have a chance to do record fourth-quarter numbers because there is tremendous pent-up demand," said Trump, noting the jump in stocks in a trading week of just four days, since markets were closed on Good Friday.