US economy could contract 30% in second quarter

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The U.S. economy could contract at its worst rate since the Great Depression later this year due to the coronavirus crisis, warned Kevin Hassett, who recently rejoined the Trump administration as a senior economic advisor.

The initial look at gross domestic product for the first quarter, out on Wednesday, will be a negative number, Hassett said on “Squawk Box.”¬†However, he said the real damage to the economy from the coronavirus will be revealed further down the road. “You’re looking at something like minus 20% to minus 30% in the second quarter.”

In a string of dismal data on economic growth as the coronavirus economic halt took hold, the government on Friday said that orders for durable goods plunged 14.4% in March as the coronavirus economic halt took hold.

Hassett, who last summer left his post as chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisors after two years, said he expects April’s unemployment rate, released a week from this Friday, to surge to 16% or 17%.

The unemployment rate in March rose to 4.4% with nonfarm payrolls dropping by 701,000 as the monthly data from the government was only just beginning to show to the collapse already being revealed in the weekly jobless claims.

Over 4.4 million more Americans applied for first-time jobless claims for the week ending April 18, bringing total filings for the past five weeks to 26.4 million, wiping out all the job gains seen after the Great Recession.

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