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April 2, 1999: The Longest Peacetime Expansion in History

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Strong growth, rising wages, falling unemployment, and low inflation are more than economic measures. They mean wider opportunity, renewed confidence, and a better chance for millions to pass the American dream on to their children.

President Bill Clinton
April 2, 1999

Today, President Clinton announced the release of unemployment numbers that show the American economy has created more than 18 million new jobs under the Clinton-Gore Administration, and the unemployment rate was 4.2 percent in March--the lowest peacetime unemployment rate since 1957.

The American Economy Remains Strong Under The Leadership of President Clinton And Vice President Gore. 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 and Vice President Gore put in place a bold new three-part economic strategy of 1) cutting the deficit to help reduce the interest rates and spur business investment; 2) investing in education, health care, science and technology; and 3) 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 the Clinton-Gore Administration, the economy has added 18.2 million new jobs.
  • Unemployment at 4.2 Percent in March--A 41-Year Peacetime Low. The unemployment rate has been below 5 percent for 21 months in a row--the lowest sustained unemployment rate during peacetime in 41 years.
  • Highest Share of New Jobs in Private Sector in 50 Years. Since the President and Vice President took office, the private sector has added 16.7 million new jobs--with 2.4 million jobs added in the past year. Since 1993, 92 percent of the 18.2 million new jobs have been in the private sector--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 the Clinton-Gore Administration, real wages have risen 6.1 percent--compared to declining 4.3 percent during the Reagan and Bush Administrations. After adjusting for inflation, wages have increased almost 2.7 percent in 1998--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. After losing 662,000 construction jobs between 1989 and 1992, 1.7 million new construction jobs have been added under the President and Vice President's leadership--a faster annual rate than any other Administration since President Truman.
  • Manufacturing Jobs Have Increased. After losing 2.1 million manufacturing jobs between 1981 and 1992, the economy has created 350,000 new manufacturing jobs since 1993. After losing 46,000 jobs in the auto industry during the Bush Administration, the United States has 147,000 new auto industry jobs under the Clinton-Gore Administration.
  • Unemployment Rate for African Americans and Hispanics Remains Historically Low. 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. The unemployment rate for African Americans has fallen from 14.1 percent in January 1993 to 8.1 percent in March 1999--one of the lowest levels on record for African Americans.
  • Inflation Rate Is the Lowest Since the 1950s. In 1998, the GDP price index rose 1 percent at an annual rate--its lowest level since the 1950s.

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