Reich, who served in President Bill Clinton’s administration, told MSNBC’s Chris Hayes that the Labor Department’s May jobs report showing an increase of just 75,000 new jobs (compared to the 180,000 expected) was “really bad.”
“You need 125,000 new jobs just to keep up with the increase in the labor force,” he said. “And relative to where we have been in this recovery that starts in 2009, it’s a very bad jobs report overall.”
Reich continued, with a warning:
There is a slowdown, there’s no question about that. But if you add on to the slowdown, all of the direct and ancillary damage that comes from these tariffs, tariffs against China, retaliation from China, and tariffs that are threatened against Mexico, I mean you could easily find the American economy in a recession, certainly before the election.
Trump later announced the indefinite suspension of his plan to impose a 5% tariff on goods imported from Mexico until illegal immigration is stopped from across the southern border, after reaching an agreement with Mexican officials.
But Reich said a slowdown “is almost inevitable given how long this recovery has gone.”
“Recoveries don’t go forever. They gradually slow down,” he noted. “American companies and American individuals, individual consumers, are deep in debt. That’s another thing that’s not talked about very much, but that debt is also a problem.”
“And then finally you’ve got that big tax cut for big corporations and for the very wealthy that did not trickle down, it just added $2 trillion over the next 10 years to our debt,” he added. “Now, put all of that together and you get an economy that is very, very vulnerable.”
Check out the interview above.