'A nuclear bomb dropped on the economy': CNN's John Harwood shocked by new unemployment numbers
CNBC editor at large John Harwood/MSNBC screen shot

CNN's John Harwood on Thursday was shocked by the record number of jobless claims filed in the last week -- and he said that the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has proven to be worse than expected.

During a CNN panel discussion, Harwood didn't even try to sugarcoat the news about 6.6 million Americans filing for unemployment benefits last week, or double the 3.3 million Americans who had filed for benefits the week before.

"We have pulled the plug out from the American economy, and the result is an economic catastrophe," he said. "How long is it going to last? That depends on the public health answer to this situation. You know, we talked about in the past, in the last few days, certainly when we had last week's numbers that the federal -- both in terms of the Federal Reserve and the fiscal response from Congress -- is like relief efforts during hurricane. This is a nuclear bomb that has been dropped on the American economy."

Harwood then predicted that these "shocking" jobless numbers would change the conversation and force Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to back off his opposition to further emergency relief measures.

'A nuclear bomb dropped on the economy': John Harwood shocked by new unemployment numbers from Brad Reed on Vimeo.