One of Trump's top economic advisers said the coronavirus outbreak in China could 'accelerate the return of jobs' to the US

Win McNamee/Getty ImagesUS Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross
  • Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a Fox Business interview on Thursday the coronavirus outbreak in China could help “accelerate the return of jobs” to the US.
  • The coronavirus outbreak in China has killed 132 people so far and infected over 7,000 people.
  • It has led to projections of damage to the Chinese economy from analysts.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said in a Fox Business interview on Thursday that the coronavirus outbreak in China could further bolster the economy and bring jobs back to the United States.

Speaking with Fox Business anchor Maria Bartiromo, Ross first expressed condolences to those killed by the virus, and said he didn’t want to take “a victory lap over a very unfortunate, very malignant disease.”

But he took the chance to weigh in on how the virus could affect the US’s economic future, particularly on job growth.

“I think it will help to accelerate the return of jobs to North America, some to US, probably some to Mexico as well,” Ross said.

He also said that it would give businesses “yet another thing to consider” when it comes to planning their operations and decision-making in the world’s second largest economy.

The Department of Commerce did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The coronavirus outbreak in China has killed 132 people so far and infected more than 7,000 people, and it has spread through every province, The New York Times reported. Several cases of the virus have been diagnosed in the US.

President Trump said in a Monday tweet that it’s in “very close communication” with the Chinese government, and noted China is “working very hard” to contain the virus.

The outbreak has also roiled markets and led to forecasts of reduced Chinese economic growth in first few months of 2020. One forecast from JPMorgan cited the closure of factories in some major cities until February 9.

“Undoubtedly the impact will be visible,” JPMorgan analyst Haibin Zhu said, adding, “if the virus outbreak keeps on escalating and factory shutdowns are extended and also expanded to other regions, then the shock will also evolve into a supply shock and the impact on China and the rest of the world will be even bigger.”

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.