Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, told CNBC on Wednesday that the U.S. economy appears to have reached its lowest point due to the coronavirus.
“We still have a lot of hardship, and we have a lot of heartbreak in many areas. The numbers are still way too high on the unemployment and so forth,” Kudlow said on “The Exchange.” “But it looks like we’ve hit a turning point.”
Kudlow’s comments came after last week’s May jobs report showed a surprising gain in employment, when many economists had expected another dramatic decrease. The U.S. unemployment rate declined to 13.3%, from April’s 14.7%.
Kudlow said the small-business-focused Paycheck Protection Program “led directly” to May’s improved job landscape and argued additional people will be added back to payrolls in June as states further ease coronavirus-related restrictions on businesses.
“Let’s hope that this thing bottomed way in April and we’re headed towards a terrific recovery in the second half of the year,” said Kudlow, while also pointing to a recovery in the housing market and increased Apple mobility data. “We are turning a corner. We are transitioning.”
Texas, among the first states to relax its statewide stay-at-home order, has seen three consecutive days of record-breaking coronavirus hospitalizations.
Kudlow, who in late February said the U.S. had contained the spread of Covid-19 “pretty close to airtight” before the disease killed 110,000 Americans, acknowledged it is true that Covid-19 cases are rising more significantly in “certain areas.” Even so, he maintained that the U.S. economy would be able to continue its recovery without sizable virus-induced setbacks.
“Our health experts have told me repeatedly, ‘We have much more experience at dealing with hot spots. We have much better equipment, PPE, testing and … ventilators, and we will be able to fight some fires without closing down the economy,'” Kudlow said.