For others, the prospects do not look good. There used to be part of the work force that had well-paying jobs that were low or unskilled, Mr. Prising said. Those kinds of jobs are very difficult to find today.
The deal that Mr. Trump made with the heating and cooling company Carrier this week to keep 1,000 manufacturing jobs from moving to Mexico from Indiana is emblematic of the kind of actions he said he would take as president to help blue-collar workers.
Continue reading the main storyBut there are limits to the power of persuasion.
Betsey Stevenson, an economist at the University of Michigan and a former economic adviser to Mr. Obama, said that manufacturing, while still a driving force in the economy, employed fewer and fewer people. More than 80 percent of jobs are now in the service industry, Ms. Stevenson said, and Mr. Trump should be thinking more about how to match workers with those jobs.
The economy is in a great place, and his biggest challenge is continuing that, she said.
Some economists worry that the Federal Reserve is too focused on fears of future inflation and that it should hold off on any increase in rates until conditions have improved further. Theres no reason to pre-emptively slow the economy down, given that were starting from less than full employment, said Elise Gould, an economist at the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute in Washington. Right now, the priority should be keeping the economy on track and moving it forward.
Such pleas are unlikely to win the day. At last months meeting of the Federal Reserve, members concluded that the case for an increase in the benchmark rate had been strengthened, and that they would be ready to move so long as incoming data provided some further evidence of continued progress.
Multimedia Feature Why the Fed Is About to Raise Interest Rates Federal Reserve officials have delayed raising rates this year as they wrestle with three critical questions. But they may soon be about to act.
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Many employers are having a harder time finding and retaining workers.
Recruiting is a tough issue right now in skilled and semiskilled industries, said Robert A. Funk, chairman and chief executive of Express Employment Professionals, a staffing agency based in Oklahoma City. He mentioned a particular need for workers in accounting, information technology, call centers, warehousing and office and professional services.
Mr. Funk said employers often complained about being unable to find employees with a strong work ethic who met the minimum requirements. Drug screening is a real challenge in many parts of the country, he said. Only 30 percent can pass a drug screen in the state of Washington, where marijuana is legal.
At the same time, employers have been reluctant to raise wages to a level that might lure back sidelined workers. The result has been that the country has 5.5 million job openings, a near-record level, but still relatively anemic labor force participation rates.
The challenge out there now is finding workers and keeping the workers you have, said Steve Rick, chief economist at CUNA Mutual Group. Those shortages, whatever the cause, are likely to push wages higher next year, he said.
People are feeling good not only about their current income but their future income, Mr. Rick said.
Whatever the economys current failings, Mark J. Rozell, a political scientist at George Mason University in Virginia, said it was nonetheless better than the ones most incoming presidents have faced in the last half-century.
Continue reading the main storyTrump can be thankful that his predecessor is handing him a fairly strong situation, Mr. Rozell said, especially when compared to many past party transfers of power.
Continue reading the main story