Mnuchin says surge in US unemployment claims ‘not relevant’

Saleha Mohsin

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the surge in Americans filing for unemployment benefits is “not relevant.”

“The president is protecting those people,” Mnuchin said Thursday on CNBC.

Unemployment benefit filings surged to a record 3.28 million last week as businesses shuttered and laid off workers as part of efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Mnuchin said the $2.2 trillion aid package the Senate passed late Wednesday will provide assistance to laid-off workers through unemployment insurance and cash sent directly to families. The legislation will also provide small businesses with support that Mnuchin said will encourage them to re-hire workers.

Mnuchin said he talks as many as 30 times a day with Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell to coordinate the U.S. governments response to the outbreak. The Treasury Secretary said he’s approved all of the Fed’s requests for lending facilities.

“We both have the same objective to protect American workers and companies,” Mnuchin said.