Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin dismissed newly released data, which showed a record of 3.3 million people filing for unemployment benefits last week during the coronavirus outbreak.
During an appearance Thursday on CNBC’s Squawk on the Street, Mnuchin discussed how a $2 trillion relief bill passed in the Senate could alleviate the significantly increased unemployment conditions in the country.
“Secretary Mnuchin, we knew the jobless claims number was not going to be a good one, but I’m curious as to what your thoughts were when you saw that 3.832 million number this morning?” asked CNBC host David Faber.
“You know, to be honest with you, I think these numbers right now are not relevant,” Mnuchin said, later adding, “You know, obviously, there are people who have jobless claims. And again, the good thing about the bill is the president is protecting those people. So, you know, now, with these plans, small businesses hopefully will be able to hire back a lot of those people.”
The Senate bill provides $1,200 cash payments directly to individuals and approximately $3,000 for the average U.S. family. Additionally, it temporarily expands unemployment insurance payments by $600.
The bill also provides $500 billion in loans for corporations, including for airlines, and $350 billion in forgivable loans to small businesses.
The House is scheduled to take up the legislation on Friday, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi is already talking about another coronavirus relief package to address the needs of state and local governments, workers, and other entities affected by the spread of the virus.