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Stevenson: To measure Trump’s success, use working-class men’s employment as benchmark

January 24, 2017

Bloomberg View columnists, including Betsey Stevenson, issued an article on “17 metrics to watch in the Trump era” on January 20. Columnists each submitted benchmarks to watch for a sense of President Trump's performance.

“His success, he implied, won’t be measured by conventional yardsticks,” the article says. “So what are the benchmarks?” Submissions range from the trade deficit and rust belt jobs to “Trump headline watch” and the number of Google searches for “move to Canada.”

Stevenson suggests measuring labor force participation rates for working class men. These rates “have plummeted over the last 50 years,” from 97 percent to 83 percent.

“What are they doing instead of working? Playing video games, according to recent research,” Stevenson notes. Trump has promised to create more jobs for working class men, including reviving the manufacturing sector. “If Trump succeeds,” writes Stevenson, “the best metric to assess that will be the labor force participation rate of less-educated prime age men.”

Betsey Stevenson (@BetseyStevenson) is an associate professor of public policy and economics. She served as an appointed member of the White House Council of Economic Advisers (2013-2015) and as chief economist of the U.S. Department of Labor (2010-2011).