CNBC’s Jim Cramer said Friday that he remains cautious about the U.S. economic recovery from the coronavirus even after July’s employment report showed an addition of nearly 1.8 million jobs last month.
“I don’t see anything here that makes me feel confident,” Cramer said on “Squawk Box,” referencing the sectors that showed strong employment gains, such as eating and drinking establishments, which rose by 502,000, and retail, which added 258,000 jobs.
“Drinking places are all being shut. That is just a huge part of the equation,” said Cramer. “They had the nonessential [retailers] come back. Well, how are those guys doing? Horribly. I suspect that we’ll see big layoffs there.”
Overall, the U.S. unemployment rate fell to 10.2% from its previous mark of 11.1% in June, exceeding economists expectations. However, Cramer said he is worried that any indications of progress could be threatened by the persistence of the coronavirus in the U.S.
“I’ve been completely focused on the idea that you should open up America with masks and with social distancing. But these numbers show you that if we close it, if we do have too many hot spots, we’re right back down,” he said. “I’m not as encouraged as other people about this.”
The “Mad Money” host pointed to California, Texas and Florida — three of the largest U.S. states — and the partial rollback in economic reopenings there after Covid-19 cases and deaths surged.
Those states, Cramer said, “make me feel like, look out. Anything good could be erased.”
Although the jobs report was better than expected by Wall Street, Cramer said he worries it could have implications for ongoing negotiations over coronavirus relief legislation in Washington. Lawmakers have struggled to come to a deal, with Democrats favoring a more far-reaching and expensive proposal than Republicans.
“I think that it’s really important to keep the fire to the feet of these congresspeople because boy, I think this is the last good one,” Cramer said later on “Squawk on the Street.”
Cramer stressed the importance of controlling the spread of the coronavirus in allowing the U.S. economic recovery to continue, especially ahead of the fall when public health experts worry about a further resurgence of the virus.
“Unless we get [case] numbers down, and I think we can, the reopening is becoming less relevant because there are a lot of places that have had to close, particularly the bars,” he said.