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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release April 2, 1999
                  THE ECONOMY UNDER PRESIDENT CLINTON:                 
             The Longest Peacetime Expansion in History -- 
                    More than 18 Million  New Jobs                    
                            April 2, 1999                             

The American Economy Created Over 18 million new jobs under President Clinton -- 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.

18.2 Million New Jobs Under President Clinton. Since President Clinton took office, the economy has added 18.2 million new jobs -- that's 2.2 million more new jobs in six years than were created during the entire eight years of the Reagan Administration (18.2 million under Clinton vs. 16.0 million under Reagan).

Unemployment At 4.2 Percent in March -- A 41-Year Peacetime Low And The Lowest Level During This Economic Expansion. In 1992, the unemployment rate was 7.5 percent. In March, the unemployment rate was 4.2 percent. The unemployment rate has been below 5% for 21 months in a row -- that is the lowest sustained unemployment rate during peacetime in 41 years.

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 16.8 million new jobs -- with 2.4 million jobs added in the past year. Under President Clinton and Vice President Gore, 92 percent of the 18.2 million new jobs have been in the private sector -- that's the highest percentage in 50 years.

Fastest and Longest Real Wage Growth in Two Decades. Last month, average hourly earnings increased 0.2 percent. Under President Clinton and Vice President Gore, real wages have risen 6.1 percent compared to declining 4.3 percent during the Reagan and Bush years. After adjusting for inflation, wages have increased almost 2.7 percent in 1998 -- that's the fastest real wage growth in more than two decades and the third year in a row -- the longest sustained growth since the early 1970s.

Construction Jobs Are Coming Back. Under President Clinton and Vice President Gore, construction jobs are coming back: after losing 662,000 jobs in construction during the previous four years, 1.7 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 350,000 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 147,000 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.

Unemployment Remains Historically Low for African Americans and Hispanics. Under President Clinton and Vice President Gore, the Hispanic unemployment rate has dropped from 11.3 percent in January 1993 to a record low of 5.8 percent in March 1999 (data first collected in 1973). And the African-American unemployment rate has fallen from 14.1 percent in January 1993 to 8.1 percent in March 1999 -- one of its lowest levels on record (data first collected in 1972).

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