Economist fears 'best economic news was in June'

Mark Zandi.
(Image credit: Screenshot/CBS)

May and June unexpectedly produced strong jobs reports. The unemployment rate, while alarming, is much lower than it was in April after the first surge in coronavirus cases and appeared to skate around economists' most pessimistic projections. But Mark Zandi, the chief economist at Moody's Analytics, told CBS News' Margaret Brennan on Sunday that things are likely to take a turn for the worse.

Zandi said the return of millions of jobs over the last two months is at least in part the result of states reopening businesses too soon amid the pandemic. Now that infections are climbing in several states that mostly avoided the worst back in March and April, those places are "pulling back" their reopening efforts, which hasn't shown up in the data yet. "That's coming down the road," he said, predicting that June's progress is in the rearview mirror.

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The most recent spike in states that play a driving role in the national economy, like Texas, California, and Florida, is "very disconcerting," Zandi said, adding that "the prospects of going back into a recession are pretty high."

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Tim O'Donnell

Tim is a staff writer at The Week and has contributed to Bedford and Bowery and The New York Transatlantic. He is a graduate of Occidental College and NYU's journalism school. Tim enjoys writing about baseball, Europe, and extinct megafauna. He lives in New York City.