US could lose one million jobs in April and recession ‘close to 100 per cent certain’, says ex-Trump economist

President Trump’s former top economic advisor has warned that inaction over coronavirus could lead to to a global economic downturn

Gino Spocchia
Monday 16 March 2020 17:50
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Coronavirus fear grips global financial markets

A former chief economic advisor to Donald Trump, Kevin Hassett, has said one million American jobs could be lost in April and the odds of a global recession were now close to 100 per cent.

The ex-chairman of the president’s Council of Economic Advisors told CNN on Monday that the US economy was going to experience a “very terrible” second quarter and was all but certain to contract.

Mr Hassett, who resigned from his White House post in June 2019 over Mr Trump’s tariff plans, predicted that the American economy could fall by five per cent by the end of the second quarter.

“I think the odds of a global recession are close to 100 per cent right now. I think in the US we are going to have a very terrible second quarter you know”, Mr Hassett said.

He added that White House response to coronavirus would impact on whether or not the US could avoid two successive quarters of negative economic growth.

“If you’re going to have a recession you’re going to have two bad quarters, and I think that’s going to depend on whether we get ahead of the curve of the coronavirus and that’s a big unknown right now” said Mr Hassett.

He added: “We think next week there are going to be basically no hires but probably a normal amount of fires, and if that happens you’re looking at one of the largest negative jobs numbers we’ve ever seen.”

That comes as another former top economic advisor to Mr Trump, Gary Cohn, claimed last week that the US economy was already in recession.

The former National Economic Council director told CNN that “We are in a recession right now. We are having negative growth right now.”

Steven Mnuchin, Mr Trump’s Treasury Secretary, said on Sunday that the US would avoid a sharp economic downtur​n and denied concerns about a recession.

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