TREASURY Secretary Steven Mnuchin has reportedly warned that the US could see an unemployment rate of 20 per cent for the first time since the Great Depression.
On Tuesday, it was revealed that a global recession has already begun as the coronavirus plunges the economy into a recession — with major companies begin laying off employees worldwide.
And, in unprecedented circumstances, a fifth of US workers say that they have already lost wages due to the deadly disease.
During a meeting with senators on Tuesday, Mnuchin reportedly made his remarks about the economy.
He added how he believes the economic fallout from the coronavirus is potentially worse than the 2008 financial crisis, according to Bloomberg News.
During the crisis, the unemployment rate was a little more than 10 per cent — but that figure is now expected to double due to the killer virus.
Mnuchin also allegedly said that coronavirus could "drive up the unemployment rate" if lawmakers don't provide a swift financial response to wage workers and small and medium-sized businesses.
A treasury department spokeswoman told Bloomberg: "Secretary Mnuchin used several mathematical examples for illustrative purposes, but he never implied this would be the case."
Across the country, indications were stark that the pandemic, and the measures being taken to contain it, are having a severe effect on workers across a range of industries.
Travel has ground to a standstill, with business and personal trips being put on hold, and increasingly severe international travel bans.
Elsewhere, economists for Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley say that a global recession has already begun, with the only question remaining is how severe the pullback will be, and how long it will last.
"We expect the recession to be front-loaded, with a recovery in [the second half of the year]," said Goldman Sachs' chief economist in a note to clients.
"This assumes that infections will slow significantly by the end of April as the lockdowns and other mitigation measures bear fruit."
Meanwhile, in a new Marist poll conducted for NPR/PBS News earlier this week, 18 per cent of US adults said that they had already lost their job or had their hours reduced due to the pandemic.
At the national level, President Donald Trump promised he's "going big" with plans to blunt the economic pain caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
White House officials have been working closely with Congress to pass new laws to provide economic relief from the pandemic, US Treasure Secretary Steve Mnuchin said at a press conference Tuesday.
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