Perez
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DNC Chair Tom Perez poopoos the numbers.
The Democratic National Committee downplayed surprising May job gains and brushed off the notion that easing coronavirus lockdowns in Republican-controlled states contributed to the uptick.

"What we have in this report is a flicker of good news," DNC Chairman Tom Perez said during a Friday press call. "We've gone from a Category 5 hurricane to a Category 4.9 hurricane."

Perez compared the job losses over the last three months, 19.6 million, to the worst three-month stretch of job losses under the Obama administration, 2.3 million, in the middle of the Great Recession.

President Trump, Perez said, is "continuing to compete with Herbert Hoover to have the worst record of job loss in at least the last hundred years in the United States," and blamed the "preventable" losses on Trump failing to act to contain the coronavirus pandemic earlier.

The Labor Department said Friday that the economy gained 2.5 million jobs in May and the unemployment rate fell to 13.3%. Due to lockdowns, the economy lost 1.4 million jobs in March and 20.7 million jobs in April.
jobs chart
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US job performance

Austan Goolsbee, a professor of economics at the University of Chicago and the former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Barack Obama, said of the job numbers:
"They're not a triumph. They're not joyous. One month or two months of rebound — if they do not get us back to the levels that we were before this crisis began. We cannot say that we are succeeding until we have at least gotten ourselves back to where we were before the crisis."
States mainly governed by Republican leaders began allowing businesses to reopen toward the end of April. States governed by mostly Democrats have had slower reopening phases. New York City, the epicenter of New York state's and country's COVID-19 crisis, will begin its phase one reopening on June 8.

Perez and Goolsbee, however, suggested that the difference between when states began their reopenings did not explain the current unemployment rate. Goolsbee told the Washington Examiner:
"The shutdown orders had a very small, incremental effect on the unemployment rate for the economies. The shutdowns of the economy began many days before those shutdown orders were in place, and in places where they're doing the shutdown orders, you're only seeing a modest comeback of economic activity, far smaller than what the drop was. The main driver of economic decline is fear and is people pulling themselves out of the economy because we did not manage the spread of the virus."
Perez mentioned a study of the 1918 flu pandemic.
"Minneapolis and St. Paul, they had diametrically different responses to the Spanish flu pandemic. Minneapolis shut down. They were very cautious. When you fix the public health, you fix the economy faster. St. Paul said live and let live. They did not do that. And the researchers studied which economy fared better, and the answer decisively was Minneapolis."