Report: Trump to inherit solid but uneven economy


Associated Press

WASHINGTON

The U.S. jobs report Friday made one thing clear: President-elect Donald Trump will inherit the same two-track U.S. economy that bedeviled his predecessor.

Hiring is solid and the unemployment rate low. But longer-term problems persist – especially a stubbornly high number of men who are out of work and have given up looking.

Many are likely frustrated former manufacturing workers who voted for Trump over Hillary Clinton.

Employers added 178,000 jobs in November, the government said, extending the longest streak of hiring since World War II. And the unemployment rate sank from 4.9 percent to a nine-year low of 4.6 percent. Yet the jobless rate dropped mainly because many of those out of work gave up on their job hunts and were no longer counted as unemployed.

A key challenge for the Trump administration is to extend the benefits of job growth to include many of those who feel left out.

The job market’s durability will help to some extent. Eventually, low unemployment should compel employers to offer higher pay to attract more workers. That, in turn, could persuade more Americans to resume their job hunts and find work.

“With the unemployment rate this low and wages rising, now is the real test of whether a stronger economy can bring people back into job market,” said Jed Kolko, chief economist at job hunting website Indeed.

Aside from the longer-term challenges, recent data suggest that the economy is in decent shape. Americans bought homes in October at the fastest pace in nearly a decade. They’re also more confident in the economy than at any other point in the past nine years and are spending more.

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