Trump says 2.5 million jobs added shows economy is ‘going to be back’

President Trump said on Friday that “we’re going to be back” after surprising economic news that the US economy added 2.5 million jobs in May as states reopened from coronavirus lockdowns.

“It’s an affirmation of all the work we’ve been doing really for three and a half years, this isn’t just over the last few months,” Trumps said in the White House Rose Garden, later adding: “Our body was so powerful that we could actually close our country, save millions of lives.”

The rebound reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the unemployment rate fell from 14.7 percent in April to 13.3 percent in May.

Experts had expected the jobless rate to near Great Depression levels around 20 percent as new unemployment insurance claims grew due to widespread government-ordered business closures to prevent spread of COVID-19.

Some states began allowing a phased return to normal in late April, but companies that furloughed or laid off workers in most places still face strict limitations.

The rebound follows an aggressive federal effort to keep afloat businesses. In two tranches, Congress authorized $670 billion in forgivable small business loans that can cover labor and overhead. A separate $500 billion fund managed by the Treasury Department was used for larger businesses, including airlines.

Since March, 42.6 million people — or a quarter of the workforce —  filed new unemployment insurance claims, including another 1.87 million people last week.

COVID-19 has sickened near 2 million Americans and killed almost 110,000. Those left jobless have benefited from a $600 per week federal boost in unemployment pay, intended to keep stable the income of most people impacted by the pandemic.

Trump spoke after a bleak week with the White House besieged by anti-police brutality demonstrators protesting the killing of George Floyd by Minnesota police. On Saturday and Sunday, protests gave way to arson and citywide looting.

Trump said the economic rebound “is a tremendous tribute to equality” and said the pre-pandemic economy had the lowest rates of unemployment for many groups, including African-Americans.

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