Fed's Bullard: Drop in U.S. payrolls 'not a surprise' given shutdowns - CNBC

FILE PHOTO: St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank President James Bullard speaks at a public lecture in Singapore October 8, 2018. REUTERS/Edgar Su

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The massive drop in U.S. private payrolls for April, reported on Wednesday, is “not a surprise” but employment could recover dramatically in the second half of the year if the coronavirus pandemic is controlled, St. Louis Federal Reserve president James Bullard said.

The U.S. Labor Department’s April jobs report coming Friday will also be “one of the worst ever,” Bullard said in an interview on CNBC, with the unemployment rate possibly pushing 20%. But he also said “it can come down under double digits by year end,” if economic relief programs work well and the virus is adequately controlled.

Reporting by Howard Schneider; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama