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Strong June jobs report would 'absolutely affect' a phase 4 coronavirus deal, Trump aide Kevin Hassett says

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Key Points
  • Another coronavirus relief package is all but inevitable, but its contents depend on whether the U.S. economy sees another blowout jobs report next month, Kevin Hassett told CNBC.
  • "The odds of there being a phase four deal are really close to 100%," Hassett told CNBC even after jobs data for May far exceeded expectations.
  • A repeat performance in June would "absolutely affect the things that we pursue" in additional legislation, he said.
White House Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Kevin Hassett. 
Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

Another coronavirus relief package is all but inevitable, but its contents depend on whether the U.S. economy sees another blowout jobs report next month, Kevin Hassett, a senior advisor to President Donald Trump, told CNBC on Monday.

Hassett, the former chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisors, said on "Squawk Box" that "the odds of there being a phase four deal are really close to 100%," even after the jobs data for last month  far exceeded expectations. 

A repeat performance in June would "absolutely affect the things that we pursue" in additional legislation, he said.

The U.S. just saw its biggest month-to-month job gains ever: The Labor Department reported Friday that nonfarm payrolls in May rose by 2.5 million and the unemployment rate fell to 13.3%, shocking economists who anticipated that more than 8 million additional jobs had been shed.

The strong report may have allowed the Trump administration to narrow its plans for a fourth "phase" of coronavirus relief. If the jobs report for June shows similar figures, it could further lift the pressure on Republicans and the White House to consider the more sweeping aid measures proposed by Democrats.

"One of the things that we've been saying and that the president's insisted on is that we watch the economy recover, we see if it surprises us on the upside and if the programs that we have out there work or need to be fixed," Hassett told CNBC.

Hassett said the White House is making plans for whether the economy outperforms or underwhelms in June.

"We had a really good month of jobs numbers, if we get another month like that in June, then I think it would absolutely affect the things that we pursue in July in the phase four deal," Hassett said.

The May jobs report was driven by gains in the leisure and hospitality industries, which began rehiring workers as states lifted their strict social distancing measures on those businesses. More easing is due in June: New York City, the nation's financial center, kicked off its first phase of the reopening process Monday.

Trump has outlined several policies he wants to pass, including a payroll tax cut — which Democrats oppose — as well as another round of stimulus checks for Americans and potential tax incentives to encourage restaurant and entertainment spending. 

Democrats say that now is not the time to pull back on federal relief efforts, arguing that the trillions of federal dollars spent on blunting the impact of the virus made all the difference in the blowout jobs report.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Friday on MSNBC that the jobs report "tells us that we still have a long way to go. ... Now is not the time to be complacent or take a victory lap."