Following a stunning and optimistic jobs report, President Trump, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and National Economic Council Chairman Larry Kudlow held a press conference to discuss the economy. [Video and Transcript Below]
[Transcript] – THE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you very much, everybody. Appreciate it. This is mostly an economic conference, and we have Steve Mnuchin with us, Larry Kudlow.
I’d like to just announce the spectacular news for American workers and American families and for our country as a whole. There’s not been anything like this — record setting. It was just put out that the United States economy added almost 5 million jobs in the month of June, shattering all expectations.
I was watching this morning, and the expectations were much lower than that. The stock market is doing extremely well, which means, to me, jobs. That’s what it means: jobs. This is the largest monthly jobs gain in the history of our country. The unemployment rate fell by more than 2 percentage points down to just about 11 percent. We’re down to the 11 percent number. We started at a number very much higher than that. As you know, we broke the record last month, and we broke it again this month in an even bigger way.
This news comes on top of May’s extraordinary jobs report, which was revised upwards, by the way, to 2.7 million jobs; it was 2.5. That was last month, and that was a record setter, but it actually got a little bit better. We revised it, and it was revised upward to 2.7 million jobs for a combined total of 7.5 million jobs created in the last two months. And that’s a record by many millions of jobs. So it’s 7.5 million jobs created in the last two months alone.
Today’s announcement proves that our economy is roaring back. It’s coming back extremely strong. We have some areas where we’re putting out the flames or the fires, and that’s working out well. We’re working very closely with governors, and I think it’s working out very well. I think you’ll see that shortly.
In June, we added 2.1 million leisure and hospitality jobs; 740,000 retail jobs; 568,000 education and healthcare jobs; 357,000 service jobs — these are all historic numbers — and 356,000 manufacturing jobs. And manufacturing looks like it’s ready to really take off at a level that it’s never been before. And a lot of that has to do with our trade policy, because we’re bringing manufacturing back to our country. And these take a long time to get — to get going, and they’re now going.
So these are historic numbers. I’m really happy when I see 356,000 manufacturing jobs, and that’s just a small number compared to what it will be soon because of our great trade deals.
African American workers — really happily for me — made historic gains with 404,000 jobs added last month alone, and that’s a record. And the second largest jump will be last month — and what we have, if you add the two months together, it’s 700,000 jobs for African American workers added in the last two months. And that’s a record by a lot.
Likewise, Hispanic employment is up by 1.5 million jobs, a record by a lot. Hispanic employment up 1.5 million jobs.
Three million more women were employed in the month of June, a record. Never had a number like that.
Workers with a high school education or less made the biggest strides of all. So people that have just a high school education, or have less than a high school education — with unemployment, those without a high school diploma dropped a full 3.3 percentage points; that’s the largest drop in recorded history.
Eighty percent of small businesses are now open. Eighty percent. And we think we’re going to have some very good numbers in the coming months because others are opening. And especially as we put the flame out — getting rid of the flame; it’s happening.
New business applications have doubled since late March. That’s a number that is not even thinkable to achieve this early into a pandemic. The latest ISM Manufacturing Report rose 10 percentage points, with new orders jumping a remarkable 25 percentage points — all a record.
Consumer confidence, which is great — that’s a great number to me because that means confidence is really good. If you don’t have good consumer confidence — it’s like life: If you don’t have confidence, you’re not going to do very well. Consumer confidence has risen 12 points since April. And six-month job expectations hit the all-time — an all-time high.
So think of that for a second: With all we go through, with all of the trials and tribulations that we read about every night — much of it totally fake news, fortunately. And if the consumer didn’t get it, you wouldn’t have good consumer confidence. We have — consumer confidence has risen 12 points since April, an all-time high. Think of that.
Retail sales surged an astonished — astonishing 18 percent. So retail sales went up an astonishing 18 percent in May. That’s the largest increase in the history of our country. That’s a tremendous number, 18 percent. The number of — and what it means to me is jobs.
The number of unemployed Americans reentering the labor force rose by 43 percent, and fewer workers are dropping out of the labor force than before.
And the crisis is being handled. You know, if you look — we were talking this morning — something to think about — China was way early and they’re getting under control just now. And Europe was way early, and they’re getting under control. We followed them, with this terrible China virus, and we are likewise getting under control.
Some areas that were very hard-hit are now doing very well. Some were doing very well, and we thought they may be gone and they flare up, and we’re putting out the fires. But other places were long before us, and they’re now — it’s like life; it’s got a life. And we’re putting out that life, because that’s a bad life that we’re talking about.
But all of this suggests that workers are confident about fighting a new job.
The stock market is soaring with the best gains in over 20 years. In the second quarter, the Dow Jones increased 18 percent. This is in a quarter — 18. These are not numbers that people have heard about. It’s the best in 33 years. The S&P 500 increased by almost 20 percent, the best since 1998 for the quarter. And NASDAQ increased over 30 percent, the best since 1999.
And we had a 50-month — if you look over a long period of time, a phenomenal number. But if you look since the election, we’ve gone up — the Dow went up close to 45 percent. The S&P 500 went up 47 percent, and NASDAQ composite went up — getting close to 100 percent. So these are numbers that are not numbers that other presidents would have. And they won’t have it. The only thing they can kill it is a bad president or a president that wants to raise taxes.
You want to raise taxes? This whole thing — your 401(k)s will drop down to nothing, and your stock market will drop down to nothing. This is not just luck, what’s happening; this is a lot of talent.
All of this incredible news is the result of historic actions my administration has taken working with our partners in Congress to rescue the U.S. economy from a horrible event that was formed, took place in China, and came here. And they could have stopped it. They could have stopped it. Nobody likes to write that, but they could have stopped it. They know it, and I know it.
Through the Paycheck Protection Program, we’ve extended over $520 billion in loans to nearly 5 million small businesses, saving and supporting the jobs of tens of millions of American workers. This has been a tremendous success; levels that nobody has ever seen before. But we saved all of those — all of those jobs and all of those small businesses. And some will be large businesses soon, perhaps.
We also rushed urgently needed relief to millions and millions of hardworking taxpayers. They got that directly, and we’re working on a phase four. We’re working with Congress. That work has started. Steve Mnuchin can give you a little briefing. We’re talking about payroll tax cuts, we’re talking about more money being infused. And it comes back to us. It comes back. It’s all coming back. It’s coming back faster, bigger, and better than we ever thought possible. These are the numbers. These are not numbers made up by me; these are numbers.
We’ve implemented an aggressive strategy to vanquish and kill the virus, and protect Americans at the highest risk, while allowing those at lower risk to return safely to work. That’s what’s happening.
Our health experts continue to address the temporary hotspots in certain cities and counties. And we’re working very hard on that. We’re — the relationship with the governors is very good. We made a call — Mike Pence made a call just yesterday and said, “What do you need?” Not one governor needed anything. They don’t need anything. They have all the medical equipment they can have. Thank you, U.S. government.
They have all of the ventilators they have — you know, we’re giving many ventilators and selling, in some cases, and giving when needed. But we’re — we’re the ventilator king. We’re now producing thousands of ventilators — thousands of ventilators a week.
And we’re helping other countries. And other countries are desperately in need of ventilators, because this is now at 189 countries. That changes all the time, that number. Our last count is 189 countries, and many of them don’t have money and they — almost all of them don’t have a capacity to build a ventilator, which is hard to build — very complex, very expensive. Very big, in many cases. We’ve done an incredible job. So we have assembly lines building ventilators, and we’re building thousands a week.
All of these people are working with governors and local officials to restore best practices, and that’s what we’ve done. That includes face coverings, social distancing, testing, and personal hygiene. Wash your hands.
State officials will decide how rapidly to open their economies. That’s largely up to them. If we see something that’s egregious, we’ve gotten involved with a couple of them where we thought it was unfair. We’d like to see churches opened quickly. And some of them just don’t want to do that. In New York, we got a great ruling from a judge — thank you, Judge — that they can open.
If these best practices are implemented, then the hotspots can be calmed quickly. And we understand this horrible disease right now. We didn’t understand the disease at all. We did the right thing. We closed it up. We would have lost millions of lives. We’ve done a historic thing. We would have lost millions of lives. And now we’re opening it up, and it’s opening up far faster than anybody thought even possible, and more successfully.
And as I said, you’re going to have a fantastic third quarter. It’ll be a third quarter, the likes of which nobody has ever seen before, in my opinion. And the good thing is the numbers will be coming out just prior to the election, so people will be able to see those numbers. The fourth quarter, likewise, will be extremely good. And maybe most importantly, from the standpoint of our country itself, next year will be a historic year. Next year is going to be an incredible year for jobs, for companies, for growth. Things are happening like nobody would have thought possible.
I do want to comment: Boeing, as you know, is moving along in their process. It’s been a very hard process, a very complicated progress — process, but they have made tremendous, tremendous gains. And they’re going for approvals on the aircraft, the 737 Max. They’re also starting to do some real business.
So I just want to congratulate Boeing. They’ve been through so much. I think it was probably the greatest company in the world. I used to say it was the greatest company in the world, and then it ran through a very tough period of time.
But I just want to say that Boeing has made tremendous progress in a short period of time, and other companies I don’t even have to talk about because they’re all setting records, every one — virtually every one of our great companies are setting records.
So I want to thank everybody for being here today. These are historic numbers in a time that a lot of people would have wilted; they would have wilted. But we didn’t wilt, and our country didn’t wilt. And I’m very honored to be your President.
Thank you very much. Thank you.
SECRETARY MNUCHIN: So let me just make some additional comments. And, first of all, we couldn’t be more pleased with the results. Today, again, between this month and last month, that’s about 8 million jobs, 8 million people we put back to work because of the CARES Act and working with Congress.
I think, as you know, people thought we would have 30 million people unemployed. Fortunately, we never got to that. So, 8 million jobs back, but our work is not done. Our work won’t be done until every single American who lost their job because of COVID gets back to work.
And there’s no question — I want to thank the Senate and the House for working with us — there’s no question these programs are working. I also want to thank them for extending the PPP.
As I’ve said, it’s our priority when we get to the CARES 4 bill in July, we will look to work with the House and Senate on a bipartisan basis to repurpose that money. We have about $130 billion left. There are going to be a number of businesses that are particularly hard hit, and we’ll be looking to give those businesses additional money. So CARES 4 will be much more targeted for the businesses that continue to need work, but there is no question that this is working.
And we look forward to continuing this progress. Again, I think 8 million jobs, really extraordinary.
Now, let me just make one other comment: Director Kudlow and I are not wearing masks up here because we’ve both been tested this morning. Okay? And that’s the only reason. But even with that, we did social distance. So I’m pleased to see you’re all wearing masks.
I’m going to let Director Kudlow make a few comments, and then we’ll both be happy to take questions.
MR. KUDLOW: Thanks, Steven. Just briefly, underscoring these high-frequency indicators, you know, it’s a difficult thing to do. We haven’t had much experience with these pandemics. But I will say this: The Apple mobility index is a very important index. It’s a real — literally a real-time daily indicator, and we’re not seeing any declines. It’s still strengthening, even, I might add, in some of the southwestern states which have difficult hotspots.
Housing demand and housing surveys are just soaring. Automobile demand now expected for the third quarter, about 10 million-plus production units. The trucking surveys look very, very strong.
And the Dallas Fed survey — I don’t recall if it was in the President’s notes — because it’s obviously in Texas, a bad hotspot — the Dallas Fed survey, which goes to the end of the month, has not yet shown any declines. Now, it may; I’m not going to rule that out.
And I would say as a general matter, these job numbers, as good as they are — erasing a third to a half of those who are unemployed — there’s still a lot of hardship and a lot of heartbreak in these numbers. I understand that. And the economy is on its way back. We have a ways to go.
I will, however, continue to reference the Congressional Budget Office, which is looking for a very strong third quarter and second half, and a number of private surveys and private forecasters who see the same story on the V-shaped recovery. And with good policies and leadership, 2021 can be a big bang year, and we will be able to get back to the peak levels of 2019. So I believe we’re well positioned. I think we have a lot more work to do; I get that.
And as Steven mentioned, we’ll see how the policy discussions go later this month. Thanks.
SECRETARY MNUCHIN: Sure, go ahead.
Q Mr. Secretary, are you concerned to see new unemployment claims rising? We’re at 1.4 million layoffs last week, and that number is actually going up, not going down. Are you concerned about that?
SECRETARY MNUCHIN: Well, let me just say again — I want to just say we’re going to be concerned until every single person is back to work.
Now, when you look at these numbers, I think it’s tough enough to predict economic numbers in normal times. In these times, you have to look at all these numbers in the entirety. So what I would say on that is, there’s a lag on the unemployment claims. I think you also know many of the states we set up front are completely backed up.
So, no, I would focus on — the jobs numbers are the most accurate numbers, the trend of 8 million jobs back. But having said that, I’m concerned until we get everybody back to work.
Q Obviously, this is good news today, no question about it, but it’s also obvious that the crisis that is surging through Sun Belt states — record number of cases nationally yesterday — threatens all of these economic gains. Many states are throwing their re-openings into reverse.
What additional actions is the administration going to take to stop that? Will the administration, and will the President specifically, call on Americans to wear masks? And why don’t we have, rather than you guys celebrating good news that’s already happened — why don’t we have the Coronavirus Task Force up here giving briefings on how to get under control what is obviously not under control, as Anthony Fauci said this week?
SECRETARY MNUCHIN: Well, let me just say, I am on the Coronavirus Task Force, so I’m happy to answer a few of those questions.
I can’t comment on the schedule of briefings. I’m not aware of that.
The President specifically put in his speech encouraging Americans to wear masks, social distance, and hygiene. Because he’s the President of the United States and people are not around him — close — and the people who are around are tested, I don’t think he needs to wear a mask.
But the rest —
Q But doesn’t he want to show people?
SECRETARY MNUCHIN: But the rest — but the rest of us, absolutely. And the President supports wearing masks. I was at the House this week testifying. I’m sure you saw my picture with Chair Powell on the Wall Street Journal; I never thought we’d have a picture like that. But, yes, we are encouraging Americans to wear masks.
Now, unlike last time, as I’ve said — and, yes, I realize the numbers of cases; we’re monitoring that carefully. We’re monitoring the hospital capacity. Let me just say, I’ve been briefed on where we are on vaccines and virals. I’m very encouraged we’ll have things by the end of the year.
So, yes, we’re going to be careful. And I wouldn’t say “reverse”; I would say the states appropriately are pausing certain things, like bars and gyms, which obviously are the more contagious types of things. And I think the states are acting appropriately.
Q Thank you, Mr. Secretary.
MR. KUDLOW: Excuse me. To Jon’s question, there is — Jon, look, Deborah Birx has been down in Arizona and Texas. So they have take — put a team in play, and CDC is doing more of that. And what they’re doing is working with local officials — government officials, but health officials — to really reemphasize what I call the list of best practices. And I think that will do the trick. And if you have to phase out — as Steven said, if you phase out bars, so be it, for a few weeks.
I think some places might’ve been over-exuberant and now have to come back and get back to these best practices of distancing and masks and testing and personal hygiene.
Q But, Larry, the President just said a few minutes ago that we’re getting this under control. It is obvious to anyone watching that it is not under control, and Anthony Fauci said so out loud this week.
SECRETARY MNUCHIN: I think what — I think what Dr. Fauci said is that if people don’t take these things seriously —
MR. KUDLOW: Yeah.
SECRETARY MNUCHIN: — okay? — that the numbers could continue to spike. So —
Q They’re spiking right now.
SECRETARY MNUCHIN: Again, what I’d say is: The numbers are up; we’re obviously watching this very carefully. We think that there is the right balance, and we’re working with the states on the health issues and the economic issues.
We’ll go to the next question.
Q So, Mr. Secretary, there is a record number of new infections every day. Does the White House regret encouraging states to open as quickly as it did? And do you think some of that is backfiring?
SECRETARY MNUCHIN: No, absolutely not. I think we’ve had a very careful plan — again, working with the states. This is primarily the state’s responsibility, but working with the states.
And again, I think there’s plenty of places we can get people back to work safely. I can tell you, in the Treasury, we’re going to take more people back. We are social distancing. We’re checking people’s temperature at times.
There is a safe way to reopen the economy, and we’re going to do that carefully.
Q So what lesson are you taking from what’s happening?
Q Mr. Secretary, a lot of Americans are worried about what’s going to happen with schools in the fall for kids. And there’s a real economic argument that, without schools, a lot of the workforce can’t actually truly return to work. What is the administration doing about this? How are you working on it? Are there strategies that you’re trying to employ?
SECRETARY MNUCHIN: We’re working with schools and universities. Again, I think in most cases, schools will be able to open safely. Some schools will need to spend money. One of the things we’ll look at in CARES 4 is if we need to give money to schools to properly equip their areas. I think that’s something that will be high —
Q You would support additional funds to schools?
SECRETARY MNUCHIN: Absolutely. We want to make sure that kids are safe and that if there is money that schools need to spend to safely have people in classrooms, social distance, spread things out, change hours — these are all the things we’re looking at.
Q Mr. Secretary, can you assess the current need for American families in a phase four bill? I mean, in the spring, you said that a very big number was needed. What’s the current need?
SECRETARY MNUCHIN: I think it’s too early to tell. And that’s the reason why we’re — we’re waiting. We’ve spent an unprecedented amount of money. We have authorization of $3 trillion. That’s an extraordinary amount of money. A lot of that money is not in the economy yet. We’re continuing. That’s why we’re extending things like the PPP.
And before we go back to Congress — and I’m already having conversations with certain members of Democrats and Republicans to get ideas, but we want to see the economic numbers. As I said earlier, people thought we were going to have 30 million people unemployed right now. Fortunately, we’re about 15 million unemployed. We had 5 million people unemployed before this, so we got 10 million to put back to work.
The President is committed to do what we need to do in the next bill to protect kids, protect jobs, protect liability.
Yes, in the back.
Q Mr. Secretary, if you take a look at the President’s Twitter feed over the past few days, he tweeted a video of a supporter yelling, “white power.” He’s been tweeting a veto threat if the — if military bases are named away from Confederate generals. He’s been tweeting a lot about Confederate statues and not wanting them to come down.
We’re in the middle of a pandemic. Is the President more focused on preserving or celebrating the Confederacy than getting this pandemic under control?
SECRETARY MNUCHIN: Let me just say, I think the President is focused on everything. I think this issue of statues and everything else is a complicated issue.
There was an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal from the Cardinal in New York about the Bible and everybody other than Mary and Jesus Christ. I think it’s a very complicated issue. We need to have a balanced view of history.
Q Should the President apologize for the “white power” video? Because he hasn’t.
SECRETARY MNUCHIN: Again, I’m not — we’re here to talk about economics.
We’ll take one more question in the back.
Q Mr. Secretary —
SECRETARY MNUCHIN: In the back. Yes.
Q Mr. Secretary, where is the Treasury Department on sending stimulus checks to mixed-status families. There is a lawsuit that was allowed to proceed. Are you guys going to be doing that anytime soon, or are you going to leave it to the courts to decide whether the Treasury Department has to do it?
SECRETARY MNUCHIN: I’m sorry, I didn’t understand the question. What’s the question? On stimulus checks?
Q To mixed-status families, so parents of undoc- — of American-citizen children, people who are married to undocumented —
SECRETARY MNUCHIN: Our position is that legal Americans, American citizens should get the payments. That’s our focus. If people are here illegally, they’re not going to get economic payments. So —
Q Even if they have —
SECRETARY MNUCHIN: But let me just say we’re very focused on — as part of the next CARES Act, we’re going to serious consider whether we’re going to put more payments and direct payments over — it worked very well.
Thank you, everybody.
Q How much state and local aid? How much aid for state and local governments?
SECRETARY MNUCHIN: We’ll consider that. We’ll have discussions.