My Advice for the New Administration

A Message From Bob Funk, Chairman and CEO of Express Employment Professionals

This Friday, President-Elect Donald Trump will take the oath of office and officially become the 45th president of our great country. I must admit, I’m cautiously optimistic about the impact of the new administration. There is one thing I know for sure, the president has a lot of work to do to get this economy moving.

While unemployment has been cut in half since the Great Recession and the stock market is much stronger, a majority of Americans remain dissatisfied with the direction of the country. Economic anxieties were a significant issue in the presidential race.

Something’s wrong. But what is it?
The source of anxiety among Americans regarding the economy is hard to pinpoint. For decades, the unemployment rate has been the go-to metric for economists, journalists, politicians, and commentators when assessing the health of the U.S. economy.

Lower unemployment rates have often been associated with positive sentiments about the state of the economy and the country. But today, that is not the case.

The impact of a low unemployment rate isn’t what it used to be. As it turns out, there are four major factors contributing to this negative view of our economy:

  • The lower labor force participation rate distorts the unemployment situation.
  • Wages have been slow to recover following the Great Recession—and concerns of inequality are high.
  • Businesses are concerned about political and global uncertainties.
  • The recession of 2009 changed the way businesses operate. They are still suffering from the aftermath of the Great Recession. Many are holding back, sitting on cash, and being cautious.

So, what should the new administration do?
Pull back the curtain and you will see plenty of reasons that the post-Great Recession economy is not all it’s cracked up to be—jobless Americans on the sidelines uncounted, slow wage growth coupled with concerns of inequality, and businesses unsure how to react to world events, and whether it’s safe to take risks and invest. The president-elect, his administration, and the new Congress should zero in on four key goals:

  1. Getting more workers off the sidelines and back in the workforce with good-paying jobs by equipping them with the skills needed to do those jobs.
  2. Raising wages—not artificially with minimum wage laws—but through a growing economy.
  3. Relieving business of regulations, rules and barriers to success.
  4. Encouraging businesses not to be overly cautious by promoting policies that encourage re-investing in the economy.

Learn more about this topic in a recently released Express white paper that seeks to explain this surprising trend—and proposed solutions—for the incoming president if he wants to address this angst:

What’s Wrong with this Economy
An Express Employment Professionals White Paper

The future of America is bright.
America is still a beacon of hope for the world and Express strives to be a part of that hope.

At Express, we are dedicated to securing good jobs for people, and our mission continues, whether or not the headlines tell us—accurately or inaccurately—that the economy is doing well. After all, we believe we can always do better, and the American people want us to do better.

An early test for the president-elect and his team will be whether they can look past some good news and see the challenges that continue to lurk beneath the surface.


Robert A. “Bob” Funk is chairman and chief executive officer of Express Employment Professionals. Headquartered in Oklahoma City, the international staffing company has more than 760 franchises in the U.S., Canada, and South Africa. Under his leadership, Express has put more than 6 million people to work worldwide. Funk served as the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and was also the Chairman of the Conference of Chairmen of the Federal Reserve.

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