Mnuchin Says U.S. May Emerge From Recession by End of Year

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he expects the U.S. recession sparked by the coronavirus pandemic will end by the end of the year.

“I do,” Mnuchin said Tuesday in an interview during the Bloomberg Invest Global virtual event.

President Donald Trump has sounded similar optimism about a recovery by the end of the year even as many economists say a rebound likely will take much longer. The national unemployment rate is 13.3%, the result of layoffs and business closures imposed because of stay-at-home orders and social distancing measures.

Trump said he’s considering sending another round of economic stimulus payments in a rescue package that he expects will be released “over the next couple of weeks.” Mnuchin said Congress may pass another stimulus measure in July.

Stocks rose Tuesday on optimism for more stimulus.

The Trump administration has privately discussed a $1 trillion measure as a way to stimulate jobs growth after the Covid-19 pandemic.

Trump signed a $2.2 trillion stimulus into law in late March that’s provided payroll support to small businesses, $1,200 direct payments to families and boosted unemployment checks for millions of people out of work. The small business program’s initial $350 billion was later retopped with $310 billion.

The academic panel that serves as the arbiter of America’s business cycles announced earlier this month that the recession began in February, ending the nation’s longest-ever expansion. Some economists say the downturn may already technically be over, given data showing employment and retail sales rebounding in May, even if the pandemic’s scars remain on the economy for some time.

While many economists informally define a recession as two negative quarters of gross domestic product, the panel looks instead for a significant decline in economic activity, typically lasting more than a few months.

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