WASHINGTON, June 2 (Xinhua) -- White House officials have decided not to release updated economic projections this summer, as the economic toll from the COVID-19 outbreak continues to mount, the Washington Post has reported.
In this April 7, 2020, photo, President Donald Trump calls on a reporter for a question as he speaks about the coronavirus in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington. (Photo: AP)
Citing three people with knowledge of the decision, who spoke on condition of anonymity, the report said White House will not provide updated projections on economic trends such as unemployment, inflation and economic growth in a mid-session review of the annual federal budget proposal.
The officials said the COVID-19 outbreak is causing extreme volatility in the U.S. economy, making it difficult to forecast economic trends.
The decision, however, has drawn backlash from both liberal and conservative critics, who argued that the White House should publish its economic projections regardless of the uncertainty, the report said.
The report also noted that the Obama administration continued to release the economic trends projections following the global financial crisis, despite "unflattering" numbers.
The COVID-19-induced economic loss has been growing. Economic activity in the U.S. manufacturing sector contracted for the third straight month in May amid mounting COVID-19 fallout, the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) reported Monday.
The U.S. Commerce Department reported on Thursday that economic activity in the first quarter contracted at an annual rate of 5 percent in a second estimate, 0.2 percentage point lower than the advance estimate.
That downwardly revised figure, however, still does not fully capture COVID-19's economic damage, and many analysts believe that the decline in the second quarter is expected to be much deeper.
Fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic will shrink the size of the U.S. economy by 7.9 trillion U.S. dollars over the next decade, according to new projections released by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) on Monday. That represents a 3 percent decline in cumulative real gross domestic product (GDP) over the next decade.