Pointing to the apparent recovery in the nation's economy, President Carter yesterday predicted a "good Christmas" for the nation.

Capitalizing on the spate of fairly good economic news in the last few days, the president told a television audience in Youngstown, Ohio, that he expects employment to go on growing "very rapidly" and inflationary pressures to subside.

Carter picked up again on the high and rising cost of money, for which he recently has criticized both the Federal Reserve Board and private bankers. He said he will continue to pressure banks and other financial institutions not to raise interest rates higher than economic circumstances warrant.

He also said that Congress and the administration should look at the practice whereby banks charge some of their customers lower interest rates than the majority pays.

Carter also announced that he is considering whether there should be protection for U.S. specialty steels against cheap imports, a move that almost certainly would go down well with the majority of his audience.

The administration recently announced that it was reintroducing a trigger-price mechanism for ordinary steel, to limit steel imports when their price falls below a certain level.

Carter said yesterday that he had asked the International Trade Commission to investigate extending the use of the trigger-price mechanism to specialty steels. In the past, these have not been as threatened by imports.