PRESIDENT CLINTON: OVERALL THE STRONGEST ECONOMY IN A GENERATION
Our strong economy is the product of the hard work, creativity and innovative spirit of the American people. And it is also the fruit of the comprehensive economic strategy we put in place in 1993 -- an economic strategy for the Information Age. Now, the coming months will test whether our nation will stick with that strategy.
- President Bill Clinton April 3, 1998
Today, President Clinton spoke on the state of the economy; while there are ups and downs, the economy continues to be strong: in the first three months of this year, the unemployment rate was the lowest in 28 years.
The Strongest Economy In A Generation. President Clinton's three-part economic strategy -- cutting the deficit, investing in our people, opening new markets to American goods and services -- is working for America's families. Since 1993 it has helped bring about:
The lowest unemployment level in 28 years. In 1992, the unemployment rate was 7.5 percent. In the first quarter, the unemployment rate was 4.7 percent --its lowest level since 1970;
Almost 15 million new jobs. Since President Clinton took office, the economy has added nearly 15 million new jobs -- with nearly two million new jobs in manufacturing and construction combined;
An increase in family income of nearly $2,200. Real wages are rising at their fastest pace in 20 years and a typical family's income is up nearly $2,200 since 1993, when adjusted for inflation;
Home ownership rate is at an historic high of nearly 66 percent. As a result, 67 million Americans own their homes --5.6 million more than when Clinton came to office.
Opportunity for more Americans to share in the benefits of the new economy. Under President Clinton, the African-American unemployment rate has fallen from 14.1 percent to 9.4 percent in the first quarter of 1998 (the lowest in 25 years), and the Hispanic unemployment rate has dropped from 11.3 percent to 6.9 percent in the first quarter -- as low as it's ever been. But much work remains, since these unemployment rates are above the national average.
The Balanced Budget: Building On Success. The President's agenda builds on this record. His plan calls for projected budget surpluses to be reserved pending Social Security reform, but provides targeted tax relief for child care, education, and the environment -- all fully paid for. These targeted tax relief efforts would:
Make child care more affordable, increasing the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit for 3 million working families;
Increase energy efficiency and improve the environment, investing $3.6 billion over the next 5 years in tax cuts for energy efficient purchases and renewable energy;
Promote expanded retirement savings, making contributions of up to $2,000 to an IRA through a payroll deduction excluded from the employee's income for tax purposes;
Expand education incentives, helping modernize and build over 5,000 public schools;
Help develop more affordable housing, expanding the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit by 40 percent, helping lead to an additional 150,000 to 180,000 units of affordable housing over five years.