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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release February 5, 1999
                  THE ECONOMY UNDER PRESIDENT CLINTON:          
             The Longest Peacetime Expansion in History -- 
                      Nearly 18 Million New Jobs,                                  |
             Lowest Peacetime Unemployment in 41 Years, 
                        and Real Wages Rising 

                           February 5, 1999                        

The American Economy Created A Quarter of A Million Jobs Last Month Alone, Unemployment Remained At Its Lowest Peacetime Level in 41 Years, and Wages Continued to Rise At More than Twice the Rate of Inflation -- We Now Have the Longest Peacetime Expansion in American History. In 1992, the American economy was barely creating jobs, wages were stagnant, and the unemployment rate was 7.5 percent. Six years ago, President Clinton put in place a bold new three-part economic strategy of cutting the deficit to help reduce interest rates and spur business investment; investing in education, health care, science and technology so that America was prepared to meet the challenges of the 21st century; and opening markets abroad so that American workers would have a fair chance to compete and win across the globe.

245,000 New Jobs In January Alone -- 17.8 Million New Jobs Under President Clinton. Last month alone, 245,000 more jobs were added to the American economy. Since President Clinton took office, the economy has added 17.8 million new jobs -- that's 1.8 million more new jobs in six years than were created during the entire eight years of the Reagan Administration (17.8 million under Clinton vs. 16.0 million under Reagan).

Unemployment At 4.3 Percent in January -- A 41-Year Peacetime Low. In 1992, the unemployment rate was 7.5 percent. In January, the unemployment rate was 4.3 percent -- its lowest level in 29 years and its lowest peacetime level in 41 years. The unemployment rate has been below 5% for 19 months in a row.

Highest Share of New Jobs in Private Sector in 50 Years. Since President Clinton and Vice President Gore took office, the private sector of the economy has added 16.5 million new jobs -- with 2.3 million jobs added in the past year. Under President Clinton and Vice President Gore, 93 percent of the 17.8 million new jobs have been in the private sector -- that's the highest percentage in 50 years.

Employment Is At An All-Time High. 133.4 million Americans worked in December -- that's 64.5 percent of the working-age population, the highest percentage of people working ever.

Fastest Real Wage Growth in More Than Two Decades. Last month, average hourly earnings increased 0.5 percent. Over the past year, average hourly earnings have risen 4.0 percent -- that's more than twice the rate of inflation. After adjusting for inflation, wages have increased at about a 2.5 percent pace in the past 12 months -- that's the fastest real wage growth in more than two decades.

Construction Jobs Are Coming Back. Under President Clinton and Vice President Gore, construction and manufacturing jobs are coming back: after losing 662,000 jobs in construction during the previous four years, more than 1.6 million new construction jobs have been added since January 1993 -- that's a faster annual rate than any other Administration since Harry S. Truman was President.

Manufacturing Jobs Are Up Under President Clinton, But Are Being Hurt by the Financial Crisis in Asia. After losing 2.1 million manufacturing jobs between 1981 and 1992, the economy has created 446,000 new manufacturing jobs since January 1993. In the auto industry, after losing 46,000 jobs in the auto industry during the Bush Administration, we have 154,000 new auto jobs during the Clinton-Gore Administration. And for the first time since the 1970s, America has led the world in auto production for four years in a row.

Record-Low Unemployment for African Americans and Hispanics. Under President Clinton and Vice President Gore, the African-American unemployment rate has fallen from 14.1 percent in January 1993 to 7.8 percent in January 1999 -- its lowest level on record (data first collected in 1972). And the Hispanic unemployment rate has dropped from 11.3 percent in January 1993 to 6.6 percent in January 1999 -- its lowest level ever recorded (data first collected in 1973).

Inflation -- Lowest Since 1950s. Last week, the GDP numbers were released. In 1998, the GDP price index rose 1.0 percent at an annual rate -- its lowest level since the 1950s.