WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump said on June 5 that the economy would rebound very quickly as the U.S. labor market made a stunning record surge in May, “smashing” market expectations.
“It’s a very big day for our country, an affirmation of all the work we’ve been doing really for 3.5 years,” Trump said during a press conference at the White House.
U.S. employers added 2.5 million jobs in May as 31 states started to reopen their economies and ease restrictions. The jobless rate dropped from 14.7 percent in April to 13.3 percent, far better than expected. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rallied more than 700 points after the jobs report.
“We’re opening and we’re opening with a bang, and we’ve been talking about the V,” Trump said, referring to a V-shaped economic recovery, meaning that after the economy suffers a sharp period of economic decline, it rebounds just as sharply.
“This is better than a V. This is a rocket ship.”
The president said urged “lockdown governors” to reopen their economies. “As good as these numbers are, the best numbers are yet to come because so many areas are still closed or very partially closed,” he said.
Data released by the Labor Department raised hopes that the U.S. economy has started to recover from the pandemic.
Employment fell by 22.1 million between February and April due to the strict lockdown measures implemented across the country during the pandemic.
Trump said the labor numbers shocked the economists and investors.
“Warren Buffett sold airlines a little while,” Trump said.
“But sometimes even somebody like Warren Buffett—I have a lot of respect for him—make mistakes. He should have kept the airline stocks because the airline stocks went through the roof today, and others did, too.
“We’re going to actually be back higher next year than ever before, and the only thing that can stop us is bad policy—frankly, left-wing bad policy of raising taxes and green new deals.”
Many of the job gains in May occurred in leisure and hospitality, construction, education, health services, and retail trade. Employment continued to decline in government, with local public education accounting for most of the decrease.
Jan Hatzius, chief economist at Goldman Sachs, said in a report: “Today’s report marks the beginning of the labor market recovery, in our view, and we expect the unemployment rate to fall further in June. We are currently reviewing our unemployment rate projections.”
Trump also signed legislation that makes significant changes to the Paycheck Protection Program to help restaurants, hotels, and other businesses that have been hit hard by the pandemic.
The legislation would give small businesses more time to use the relief funds by extending the time frame to 24 weeks from 8 weeks. In addition, borrowers would have to spend 60 percent—rather than the current 75 percent—of the funds on payroll to qualify for loan forgiveness.
“I want to thank the Democrats who worked together” on the bill, Trump said.
“I hope we can get along with the Democrats. It’s been a disaster in terms of relationship, but I hope we get along because it’s a great thing for our country.”