Mnuchin Sees Strong Economic Outlook, Credits Paycheck Program

(Bloomberg) -- Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the U.S. economy is poised for a “strong” economic revival from coronavirus-related closings and credited the Paycheck Protection Program for saving 50 million jobs at small businesses.

Mnuchin says the country is “well-positioned for a strong, phased reopening,” according to prepared remarks to be delivered Wednesday before the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee at 10 a.m. in Washington. Also scheduled to testify is Jovita Carranza, head of the Small Business Administration.

Mnuchin’s remarks describe high personal savings rates of Americans and easing of credit conditions as signs of a strong economic rebound driven by consumers.

“This economic positioning is the direct result of the Trump administration and Congress working together to pass bipartisan legislation to provide necessary liquidity to workers and markets,” he said.

The PPP program, which offered forgivable loans to small businesses that use most of the funds to maintain payrolls, supported 50 million workers, according to Mnuchin. He cited data from the National Federation of Independent Business, which said that 73% of its members rehired or retained workers because of the PPP.

May unemployment unexpectedly declined to 13.3% as employers added 2.5 million workers to payroll, defying expectations for a Depression-style surge in joblessness and stoking optimism the economy is bouncing back from a virus-induced recession.

The U.S. labor market has continued to heal at a relatively rapid rate through early June, St. Louis Federal Reserve researchers found, using real-time data that provides a more timely view than official government reports.

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