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The Rust Belt city of Elkhart, Indiana, once the poster child of the Recession, has made a major turnaround with unemployment nearing zero. Its success and economic strains point to the challenges that lie ahead for the U.S. economy overall, according to The Wall Street Journal’s Bob Davis.

Elkhart has unique economic conditions—its good fortune is tied to a central role in the revival of the recreational-vehicle market, where neither automation nor foreign competition is a threat. But as the U.S. turns the page on a decade of postcrisis underemployment, the region points to a future of labor shortages and fights over workers.

The unemployment rate in Elkhart dropped from 20% in 2009 to just over 2% in January, according to the report. Wages continue to increase and a growing number of workers skip college to take jobs at local factories. At the same time, Elkhart is experiencing a shortage of skilled workers that’s driving up home prices and requiring employers to get more creative in their recruitment. RV employers hire county jail inmates in work-release programs, bus in residents of other Midwest towns, and engage with local students to stir up interest in manufacturing careers.

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