Donald Trump could see his chances of remaining in the White House a further four years under threat should he fail to bring the USA unemployment rate down. The forced closure of businesses during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic resulted in over 33 million Americans losing their jobs in the past two months. And economists have now warned President Trump recovery is not expected to happen immediately, with some analysts suggesting unemployment could remain high well into next year.
Speaking to TRT World, chief US economist for Oxford Economics Gregory Daco said: “I don’t expect to see an unemployment rate falling into single digits before some time in 2021.
“We’re going to have to live with this double-digit unemployment rate for the foreseeable future.”
President Trump had hoped to restart the US economy in mid-April but was forced to postpone easing restrictions at a federal level as daily cases of COVID-19 continue to be high.
The US last month became the worst-affected country in the world, with over 1.2 million coronavirus cases reported and 78,200 dead – nearly twice as many as the casualties of the Vietnam War.
In addition to the devastating loss of life the US has been suffering, the American public has also been struggling to keep hold of their jobs as many employers were forced to shut down completely.
Some states, like Georgia and Florida, have begun to ease restrictions in a bid to restart their economies while hundreds of protesters across the country have also urged their Governors to reopen businesses despite the high risk to life.
According to the latest reports from the Bureau of Labour Statistics, the unemployment rate across the US shot up from 4.4 percent before the outbreak began to spread in the US to 14.7 percent as of May 8.
Mr Trump has remained adamant most of the job losses are temporary and the end of the lockdown will result in a hiring drive.
But with the presidential elections looming in November 2020, Mr Trump’s response to the coronavirus and the subsequent spike in the unemployment rate could impact the President’s chances of re-election.
A YouGov/Economist poll of 1,500 US voters conducted between May 3-5 showed the Democratic candidate, former Vice-President Joe Biden, widened his lead over the incumbent of at least four points.
But political strategists in the US have warned Mr Biden he has to expand his online presence if he wants to further increase his chances of a victory.
Writing in the New York Times, David Axelrod and David Plouffe, who both served as top campaign strategists to Barak Obama, insisted that “online speeches from his basement won’t cut it.”
They added: “For Mr Biden, the challenge is to transform a campaign that lagged behind many of his Democratic competitors during the primary in its use of digital media and timely, state-of-the-art communications techniques.”