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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release February 10, 1998
                        The 1998 Economic Report 
                            of the President 

February 10, 1998


Congress requires the President to submit each year a Report that describes the state of the US economy. The Economic Report of the President also traditionally includes a broad range of analyses of current economic policy issues. This year, in addition to the chapter on the US economy, the Report contains chapters on: children and the well-being of families; racial and ethnic inequality; the Administration's efforts to improve economic efficiency in the areas of health and environmental policy; recent trends in antitrust policy; and, the benefits of trade and opening international markets.

Report on the State of the Economy

Key Theme of 1998 Economic Report: The Benefits of a High-Employment Economy

The 1998 Economic Report of the President details the enormous economic and social benefits to a high-employment economy. An economy with strong job creation and low unemployment can make a broad and lasting contribution to the well-being of the American people. Some of these benefits are:

Challenges for the 21st Century

Although our economy is strong and Americans are working in record numbers, our Nation still faces other, broader challenges as we move into the 21st century. The 1998 Economic Report of the President discusses several of these challenges, including the following key areas:

Despite these improvements, far too many children remain economically vulnerable. One in five children, and nearly one in two children in female-headed families, had incomes below the poverty level in 1996. For this reason, the President has developed a number of initiatives to strengthen the economic and social supports for America's children. These proposals are reviewed in detail in the Economic Report.

The current economic expansion has brought signs of renewed progress: since 1993, for example, the median income of black families has risen more rapidly than that of non-Hispanic whites; in 1996, black family income reached a new high, and the poverty rate for blacks fell to a new low.

Nevertheless, substantial disparities in economic status across racial and ethnic groups persist. For example, income gaps between black and white families are as large today as they were 30 years ago, and the median wealth of white families is by some estimates 10 times that of black and Hispanic families.

Clearly, more needs to be done to promote equality of opportunity for all Americans. Many of the Administration's current and proposed policies -- such as those that encourage community empowerment and those that promote improved quality and accessibility of education at all levels -- are intended to address these disparities. The Administration's 1999 budget proposal also signals a renewed federal commitment to strong and effective enforcement of the Nation's civil rights laws. It increases funding for federal civil rights enforcement agencies by more than 16 percent. And, this January, in a Martin Luther King Day address, Vice President Gore announced the Administration's package of proposed civil rights enforcement initiatives. The President has also devoted great energy and resources to his Initiative on Race, an effort to further a national dialogue on race in America.