Richmond Fed's Barkin: Employment numbers to get worse before getting better

FILE PHOTO: Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond President Thomas Barkin poses during a break at a Dallas Fed conference on technology in Dallas, Texas, U.S., May 23, 2019. REUTERS/Ann Saphir/File Photo

(Reuters) - U.S. employment numbers will get worse amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak before getting better, Richmond Federal Reserve President Thomas Barkin said in an interview with Bloomberg News.

U.S. employers cut 701,000 jobs last month, ending a record 113 straight months of employment growth, as a patchwork of state-ordered closures aimed at curbing the spread of the novel coronavirus began forcing businesses to shed employees, the U.S. Labor Department said.

Barkin said interest rates will be low for some time until the U.S. economy recovers from the hit it has taken from the virus, but added he will want to “normalize” rates when the economy has recovered and that it is not “healthy to be at zero forever.”

Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; editing by Jonathan Oatis