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“We are suffering through a very painful, very difficult economic contraction,” Kudlow, head of the National Economic Council, told FOX Business’ Stuart Varney on Friday. “That's the way I look at it. It's going to be temporary, but it's going to be very difficult.”
While Kudlow doesn’t see the situation improving immediately, he says conditions may get better in the next four to eight weeks.
COVID-19 has infected 245,646 people and killed 6,069 in the U.S., according to the latest figures from Johns Hopkins University & Medicine. The pandemic has prompted states to issue "stay-at-home" orders and led to the temporary closing of non-essential businesses, putting millions of Americans out of work.
The U.S. economy shed 701,000 nonfarm jobs in the month of March as the unemployment rate jumped to 4.4 percent, data released Friday morning by the Labor Department showed. The numbers don't include the roughly 10 million workers who have filed for unemployment over the past two weeks.
Last week, Congress passed a $2 trillion rescue package aimed at extending aid to the individuals and businesses most severely impacted by the pandemic-related shutdown. Lawmakers have also approved measures that would extend up to $1,200 cash to most Americans and expand unemployment benefits.
Friday's dismal report ended a streak of monthly job growth that had been in place since September 2010. Last month, the U.S. economy added 273,000 jobs as the unemployment rate dipped to a half-century low of 3.5 percent.
"This is not going to last throughout the year," Kudlow said. "We will see a very strong economic recovery when this has played itself out."