• Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said 10 million more jobs will need to be created to get the labor force back to the level it was at before the pandemic hit
  • The Labor Department reported unemployment fell to 11.1% in June but initial jobless claims last week climbed by nearly 1.5 million
  • White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said economic indicators a pointing up and predicted 2021 could be "a big bang year"

President Trump and other administration officials Thursday hailed the June unemployment report as an indication the economy is "roaring back" from the coronavirus pandemic but said a new round of economic stimulus still may be warranted.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told a White House news conference talks with lawmakers already are underway, but the administration wants first to assess the impact of $3 trillion in stimulus funding already approved.

Trump presented a litany of economic gains in recent weeks, including a surge in the stock market and the “largest jobs gains in our history.”

The Labor Department reported 4.8 million jobs were added to the economy last month, atop the 2.7 million jobs added in May. The unemployment rate was pegged at 11.1% for June but doesn’t take into account the recent surge in coronavirus cases across the country, particularly in the South and West.

“Our economy is roaring back,” Trump said. “It is extremely strong. … It’s coming back bigger faster and better than we thought possible.”

Trump said talks on a new round of stimulus spending would include payroll tax cuts and more direct payments to taxpayers, which he has said he wants to be bigger than the $1,200 payments to individuals approved in March.

Mnuchin said the next round of stimulus help for businesses will be “much more targeted” to help the hardest hit businesses, and said he would be working with Congress to “repurpose” the $130 billion left over in the paycheck protection program.

Mnuchin said the federal government has “spent an unprecedented amount of money” and not all of it has yet hit the economy.

“Before we go back to Congress … we want to see the economic numbers,” he said.

He said if there is another round of direct payments to taxpayers, undocumented workers would not be included, adding the money is for “legal Americans.”

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said the administration recognizes there’s “still a lot of heartbreak in these numbers” but noted economic indicators all are pointing up and predicted a strong third quarter.

“2021 can be a big bang year,” Kudlow said.

Mnuchin said the administration will remain concerned “until every single person is back to work.” He noted predictions of 30 million unemployed never materialized and estimated there’s a 10-million job gap between the level of unemployment in February and today.

He brushed aside last week’s increase in initial unemployment claims, blaming state systems that still are trying to clear backlogs, and denied administration messaging played a role in the surge in coronavirus cases in more than a dozen states that pushed new case counts Wednesday to a record 50,000.

Mnuchin said states are acting “appropriately” in handling the surge by pausing their reopening plans.

“We’ve had a very careful plan,” Mnuchin said, adding the administration has “no regrets.”

“We think there is the right balance and we’re working with the states,” he said.

Kudlow blamed the uptick in coronavirus cases on overenthusiasm.

“If you have to phase out bars for a few weeks, so be it,” he said. “Some places have been overexuberant.”

Economists, however, were less sanguine.

Diane Swonk, chief economist at Grant Thornton, noted the increase in permanent layoffs is worrying.

Nobel economist Paul Krugman said the data from the second half of June actually showed the economy deteriorating.