US unemployment rate ‘to get worse’ amid pandemic: Treasury

The US Treasury secretary says the unemployment rate reported by the government is likely to get worse amid lockdown measures put in place due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Steven Mnuchin made the comments on Sunday after the US Labor Department announced last week that the unemployment rate had surged to nearly 18 percent in April, shattering the post-World War ll record of 10.8 percent in November 1982.

The Department also said it had received 33 million filings for first-time unemployment benefits by Americans over the past seven weeks, indicating more job losses to come.

“The reported numbers are probably going to get worse before they get better,” Mnuchin told the Fox News.

Mnuchin said the White House was considering taking more fiscal measures to ease the economic pain in the aftermath of the pandemic, and also pushing for a payroll tax cut.

The unemployment crisis has sparked protests against lockdowns imposed to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. So far, more than 1,300,000 people have been diagnosed with the disease in the US.

Protesters across the US called on governors to rethink the restrictions as sweeping stay-at-home orders in 42 states have shuttered businesses, disrupted lives and destroyed the economy.

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