White House economic advisor suggests there’s no rush to pass a stimulus as more than 10 million people remain unemployed

Joseph LaVorgna
Joseph LaVorgna, Chief Economist of the National Economic Council.

  • An economic advisor at the National Economic Council on Friday signaled there’s no rush to release a second coronavirus stimulus package.
  • Joseph LaVorgna, chief economist at the National Economic Council, said he doesn’t “believe the recovery at the moment is in jeopardy,” despite a disappointing Friday jobs report that said 10.7 million Americans were unemployed in November.
  • Congress is considering a $908 billion stimulus proposal after months of negotiations. This revised proposal does not include a $1,200 direct payment.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Joseph LaVorgna, chief economist at the National Economic Council, signaled the White House sees no rush to release a coronavirus stimulus package as Friday’s jobs report said more than 10 million Americans remain unemployed. 

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics said on Friday that the country added 245,000 jobs in November, a figure far lower than the projected 460,000 additions and a sign that economic recovery has stagnated.

LaVorgna, in an interview with Yahoo! Finance, said these numbers don’t indicate that there’s an urgency for a second stimulus package.  

“The White House has, as you know, wanted to do an assisted plan for those people hurting for some time. And that’s why the president took a variety of executive order actions this past summer,” LaVorgna said.

“Certainly people need assistance. While the unemployment rate certainly has surprised many people to the downside, we’d like to it to get to where it was pre-pandemic when it was at a 50-year low,” he added. “So there are negotiations going on. We don’t believe the recovery at the moment is in jeopardy.”

The pandemic has roiled markets and forced millions into unemployment as local governments shut down businesses nationwide to curb the spread of the virus. 

The Labor Department clocked 10.7 million unemployed people in November. About 14.8 million Americans said the pandemic was the reason they didn’t work last month, according to the Labor Department report.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on LaVorgna’s remarks.

LaVorgna’s remarks contradict what Fed Chair Jay Powell said about the need for a stimulus in October. Powell warned that the economy might falter if another stimulus package doesn’t make it through Congress. 

“Too little support would lead to a weak recovery, creating unnecessary hardship for households and businesses,” Powell said in a speech. Powell has consistently urged Congress to pass a stimulus package to help the economy recover from the devastation brought on by the coronavirus.

More recently, other lawmakers took Friday’s jobs report as a sign for Congress to expedite the stimulus negotiations, Business Insider’s Ben Winck and Joseph Zeballos-Roig reported

The report “shows the need for strong, urgent emergency relief is more important than ever,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said. “Senate Republicans are increasingly understanding this urgency, and [Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell] should hear their pleas as well as those of the millions of struggling American families.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also said the disappointing jobs report “further necessitates our taking action to crush the virus, to open up the economy and to open up our schools.” 

Earlier this week, Congress took its biggest step toward a deal in months. Congressional Democrats said they were in favor of a $908 billion stimulus proposal. The revised offer is a considerably modest figure compared to the multitrillion-dollar package House Democrats originally pushed. There is no $1,200 direct payment included in this stimulus proposal. 

Senate Republicans, including Lindsey Graham and Chuck Grassley, indicated they are supportive of the $908 billion proposal. 

And as Business Insider’s Joseph Zeballos-Roig reported, President-elect Joe Biden said on Friday that the latest $908 billion stimulus package “would be better” if it included a new wave of direct payments for Americans.

“I think it would be better if it had the $1,200. I understand that may still be in play,” Biden said.

He added: “The whole purpose of this is we’ve got to make sure people aren’t thrown out of their apartments, lose their homes, are able to have unemployment insurance they can continue to feed their families on as we grow back the economy.”

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