Labor Secretary Scalia: All signs point to 'strong and safe' economic recovery after coronavirus

Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia expressed confidence Saturday that the United States is headed toward a "strong" economic recovery and will continue to see job gains.

"There's still so much room to spring back in this economy," he said during "Cavuto Live." "We need to work at it, we can't forget how high unemployment still is at the moment.

"We got to work at bringing that number down, but all signs right now are very positive for a strong and a safe recovery back."

In May, the economy added a record 2.5 million jobs -- making for an unexpected bounceback after the U.S. hemorrhaged jobs during coronavirus shutdowns across the nation.

The job gain suggests that businesses have quickly been recalling workers as states gradually reopen their economies.

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Other evidence has shown that the job market meltdown triggered by the coronavirus pandemic may have bottomed out. The number of people applying for unemployment benefits has declined for nine straight weeks. And the total number of people receiving such aid has leveled off.

"The report we put out yesterday was just through about the middle of May, and we know that a lot of the most important reopenings didn't begin until later in the month or earlier this month, or still are to take place," Scalia said. "One number that I looked at was health care jobs. We lost 1.4 million health care jobs -- we only got about 350-400,000 back -- they're all going to come back."

In March, President Trump and Congress approved a massive stimulus package designed to provide financial relief during the pandemic. Scalia told guest host and Fox Business anchor Charles Payne that while he thought Congress would likely pass additional relief, he wasn't sure what it would look like.

Regardless, Scalia predicted that June's jobs report would continue to show solid gains.

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The overall job cuts have widened economic disparities that have disproportionately hurt minorities and lower-educated workers, however. Though the unemployment rate for white Americans was 12.4 percent in May, it was 17.6 percent for Hispanics and 16.8 percent for African-Americans.

Scalia maintained that Trump's "free markets" strategy will build on the economic progress made by blacks and other minoirity communities in the last few years.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.