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The number of unemployed Americans has dramatically increased this month due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow, but he said planned economic relief should help the economy recover.
Kudlow, speaking to FOX News’ Bill Hemmer Wednesday, declined to give a specific or estimated figure for the number of unemployment claims, which is due to be released Thursday morning.
“It’s going to be a very big increase,” Kudlow said. “Everybody in the market knows that.”
However, Kudlow said proposed stimulus plans, including a $2 trillion package approved by the Senate overnight and as much as $4 trillion the Federal Reserve could use to stabilize markets, would hasten the economy’s recovery.
“This is going to be weeks and months, not years,” Kudlow said.
He touted the plan as one which would keep further people off unemployment by keeping businesses’ payrolls steady.
Lawmakers’ stimulus plan, which still requires approval in the House of Representatives, includes $500 billion in relief for corporations, $15.5 billion for food stamps, $130 billion for hospitals, $150 billion for local governments and $46 billion for airlines. Combined with the Fed’s stabilizing funds, it’s the largest relief package in U.S. history, Kudlow said.
“When you put the two together, you’re looking at a roughly $6 trillion package,” he said.
Kudlow also noted that news of the stimulus has already turned the stock market around.
“Generally speaking, if you’re not working, either because you’re sick or get laid off, this is not a function of the economy per se, this is a function of this massive external problem called the coronavirus,” he said.
While officials have been working on a relief plan, the virus has continued to spread. There were more than 450,000 cases worldwide as of Wednesday, including more than 60,000 in the U.S. More than 800 people in the U.S. have died from the coronavirus.