U.S. Economy Has Exceeded Expectations ‘By a Mile,’ Says Chief White House Economist on Cheddar

Meghann Showers

The September jobs report, released Friday, shows fewer jobs added to the U.S. economy than expected. Though tens of thousands of more jobs could be lost in October with the federal government so far failing to bail out the airline industry, the chief economist for the National Economic Council at […]

The September jobs report, released Friday, shows fewer jobs added to the U.S. economy than expected. Though tens of thousands of more jobs could be lost in October with the federal government so far failing to bail out the airline industry, the chief economist for the National Economic Council at the White House Joe LaVorgna said there are signs the economy is in good standing, and its “self-sustaining” nature will help avoid disruptions to further recovery.

“The Atlanta Fed, just yesterday, revised up its estimate for Q3 GDP growth by almost 3 percent to 35 percent, which actually now keeps us on track, if you look then at some private sector forecasts, to recoup all of the pandemic-related output early next year,” he stated, acknowledging the recent positive COVID-19 diagnosis for President Trump and the first lady, while still promoting a positive economic outlook.
Last month, the U.S. added 661,000 jobs but came short of the Dow’s 800,000 projection; however, LaVorgna alleged that those figures were not a sign of lost momentum in economic recovery.

“The fact is, the economy has out surpassed consensus expectations by a mile,” he said. 

“We’ve generated 11.4 million non-farm payroll jobs since April. We’ve actually generated 14.2 million jobs in the household survey since April, so we’ve got some very good numbers,” LaVorgna continued

While fewer jobs were added than expected, the U.S. unemployment rate beat projections, coming in at 7.9 percent. LaVorgna said the data showed job growth in every major industry but did note weakness in government jobs due to educators not returning to work like usual due to coronavirus adjustments.

When broken down by ethnicity, the data also showed that 12.1 percent of Black Americans were jobless. LaVorgna said while the White House would like to see unemployment drop across all groups, Black workers, in particular, have made financial strides.

“A couple of weeks ago we had detailed census data that showed record income gains in 2019 for all ethnic groups, with Black Americans, in particular, doing extraordinarily well,” he explained.

As 7.9 percent of Americans go without a job and businesses struggle to stay afloat, another round of stimulus funding is still possible, but according to LaVorgna, more negotiations will need to take place before a deal is made.

“If we can get that stimulus, if the Democrats move a little bit more to the center, then that’s going to be great because we’ll have extra confidence the economy will be even ‘boomier,’ if you will,” he told Cheddar.

Yesterday, House Democrats approved a $2.2 trillion stimulus plan that includes another round of $1,200 payments to American households, a renewed Payroll Protection Program for businesses, renewed enhanced unemployment benefits, and relief funds for state and local governments.

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