White House adviser says unemployment may climb to 20 percent

White House adviser says unemployment may climb to 20 percent
© Greg Nash

White House adviser Kevin Hassett said Sunday the U.S. unemployment rate could reach 20 percent in May. 

“I think just looking at the flow of initial claims, it looks like we're probably going to get close to 20 percent in the next report,” Hassett said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” 

He made similar comments on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” saying the low point could reach 20 percent around May or June. 

Hassett said on CNN the unemployment rates depend on whether the virus “has really abated” and if economies are “really going again.” 

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“I would guess middle of summer is when we’re going to start to go into the transition phase,” he said, adding that he hopes there will be “very strong” growth in the third and fourth quarters. 

The unemployment in April rate rose to 14.7 percent from 4.4 percent in March, according to the latest jobs report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday. 

The U.S. lost 20.5 million jobs in April amid the coronavirus pandemic, breaking the record for the largest one-month increase in the unemployment rate.