Obama Leaves Healthy US Economy to Trump

14 January, 2017

The American economy appears to be in good health as Donald Trump prepares to become the 45th president of the United States.

Trump will be inaugurated on Friday, January 20.

Economic conditions were far different when Barack Obama was sworn-in as president in January 2009.

Obama took office during one of the worst recessions in American history. Unemployment levels reached 10 percent. The recession slowed that summer, but the economy did not fully recover for many more months.

Trump, on the other hand, takes over an economy that has added jobs in each of the past 75 months. During that period, nearly 11 million jobs have been created.

Mark Hamrick reports on economic news and is Washington Bureau Chief for the website Bankrate.com. He says Obama is leaving office with a strong economy.

"Donald Trump can be, let's say confident, that he is being given an opportunity to do relatively well here, and I think Barack Obama can be relatively pleased about the job that he and his administration have done."

The building trade is one part of the economy that added jobs under Obama and may continue to create jobs in the future.

Cracks and weeds grow daily as the National Parks Service struggles to repair the Memorial Bridge, Aug. 9, 2016. (E. Sarai/VOA)
Cracks and weeds grow daily as the National Parks Service struggles to repair the Memorial Bridge, Aug. 9, 2016. (E. Sarai/VOA)

Trump's campaign website says he plans to invest government money in building new roads, bridges and pipelines and repairing ones that need fixing.

Ken Simonson is chief economist for the Associated General Contractors of America. He says he hopes Trump's administration follows through with that promise. There are many workers ready to start new projects, he adds.

U.S. oil producers may soon be able to sell their petroleum products overseas. That should help the economy, too.

Oil prices are rising, after falling in recent years. Three years ago, oil was selling for about $100 per barrel, according to Macrotrends.net. Now it sells for just over $50 per barrel.

Jack Girard is president of the American Petroleum Institute. He calls the likelihood of exporting American oil "a big deal."

Wages paid to workers are important in judging the health of an economy. Hamrick of Bankrate.com says American wages are rising at their fastest rate since 2009.

"Hopefully we'll see more of that in the future," Hamrick said.

Many states also have plans to raise the minimum wage.

Yet, there are still some problems facing the new U.S. president and the economy.

In recent years, the country has added between 100,000 and 300,000 jobs each month. That rate of increase is likely to decrease. While 156,000 jobs were added in December, the unemployment rate stayed at 4.7 percent. That means 7.5 million people who were hoping to find work are still jobless.

There are also many people who have left the labor force after not being able to find employment. The measurement of that number is called the labor participation rate, and it remains historically low.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the labor participation rate was 66 percent in January 2006. By December 2016, it had dropped to 62.7 percent.

I'm Dan Friedell.

Mil Arcega reported this story for VOANews. Dan Friedell adapted his story for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

What effect will Donald Trump have on the U.S. economy? We want to know. Write to us in the Comments Section or on 51VOA.COM.


Words in This Story

inaugurate – v. an occasion or ceremony in which someone begins a new official job or position by making a formal promise to do the work properly, to be honest and loyal, etc.

confident – adj. certain that something will happen or that something is true

contractor – n. a builder or construction worker

petroleum – n. a kind of oil that comes from below the ground and that is the source of gasoline and other products

minimum wage – n. an amount of money that is the least amount of money per hour that workers must be paid according to the law