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While jobless reports have been “distressing,” the country should rebound quickly from coronavirus impacts due to a strong economic foundation, Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia said Saturday.
Scalia, appearing on “Fox & Friends Weekend,” said measures are in place to support the economy during the health crisis.
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“What we need now is really tight discipline and [adherence] to the public health measures so we can beat this virus and get back to work quickly,” he said. “I think we have the ability to do that.”
Scalia called the $2.2 trillion federal CARES Act, enacted in response to the pandemic, a “really valuable lifeline” for employees and small businesses.
“I believe about $3 billion in loans were processed yesterday. Banks were coming online and making them available in the course of the day. It’s a promising program, as well as other relief in that legislation, including cash payments to taxpayers,” he said.
Scalia told the “Fox & Friends” hosts that the current situation is different than any “economic downturn we have ever had in American history, because it’s purposeful,” with most Americans told to stay home to avoid spreading the virus.
“It’s temporary. The more disciplined we are now, the quicker we can spring back and get people back to work. … We know there is going to be another difficult job report, but, more importantly, we know that a lot of Americans are struggling right now,” he said.
Scalia said he has hope because the economy was robust prior to the pandemic and the “extraordinary measures” required to create necessary social distancing will be lifted when the crisis eases.
“I think that, in the short-term, our economic health depends on taking these public health measures very seriously with respect to the virus. But I think we all recognize at the same time we can’t look just at the health side. We have to maintain our economic infrastructure. We have to maintain our national defense, for that matter. Which depends, in part, on our economic health,” he said.
“So the president — we all know — is looking at all sides of this,” Scalia added. “And I think we can be confident he will continue to do so.”
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The New York Times reports that the nation’s jobless rate is about 13 percent and rising fast. In just two weeks, a record 10 million workers claimed unemployment benefits.
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