White House officials will not release updated economic projections this summer as is common practice, according to the Washington Post.
The White House typically unveils a federal budget proposal every February and then provides a “mid-session review” in July or August with updated projections on trends such as unemployment, inflation and economic growth. Two White House officials confirmed to the Post that the COVID-19 pandemic is causing extreme volatility in the U.S. economy, making it difficult to project economic trends.
“It gets them off the hook for having to say what the economic outlook looks like,” said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a former director of the Congressional Budget Office.
Most budget experts say the U.S. is entering a severe economic downturn as a result of the pandemic. Since the release of the White House budget blueprint in January, the unemployment rate has jumped from about 3.5 percent to nearly 15 percent. Earlier today, the Department of Labor said another 2.1 million jobless claims were filed last week, bringing the total to more than 40 million in the past 10 weeks.