THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
|For Immediate Release|| ||March 6, 1998|
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
ON UNEMPLOYMENT REPORT AND JOB TRAINING
The Rose Garden
10:15 A.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. Today we received moregood news for our workers and our families. Our economy addedanother 310,000 new jobs last month. Real wages continued to rise.Unemployment fell to 4.6 percent, the lowest level in a quartercentury. And more Americans are sharing in the prosperity. Hispanicunemployment, for example, fell to a record low.
The American economy has now added more than 15 millionnew jobs since I took office. Inflation has remained low and stable.We continue to have the strongest economy in a generation, the lowestunemployment in a quarter century, the lowest inflation in 30 years,the highest homeownership in history. We're on track to have thelongest peacetime recovery in the history of our country. These aregood times for America.
But how shall we maintain this momentum? We must firstpress forward with this new economic strategy. It is working. Wemust do more also to continue to create high-wage jobs. And finallywe must make sure that our people have the skills to fill them.
The new economy is increasingly driven by creativity,innovation, and technology, with high-skill jobs growing at nearlythree times the rate of other jobs. In the field of informationtechnology, the hunt for employees with high-tech skills is becomingmore and more intense. There are hundreds of thousands of vacanciesout there in America right now.
The key to expanding opportunity is education andtraining. Through our new HOPE Scholarships, the lifetime learningcredits, education IRAs, expanded Pell Grant scholarships, betterstudent loans, we've opened the door to college for all people of allages who are willing to work for it.
Recently we learned that our high school seniors laggedbehind the rest of the industrial world in math and science. We mustdo more there. We must work to raise standards, reduce class size,improve teaching, have people taking more challenging courses, andincrease accountability.
But we also, to look at the immediate situation, must domore to reform our job training system. For more than three years Ihave called on Congress to consolidate the tangle of trainingprograms we have today into a G.I. Bill for workers, to create anetwork of one-stop career centers, to increase accountability, toensure results, to empower people to gain the skills that are ingreatest market demand. Secretary Herman and Secretary Daley, whoare here with me today, are working in particular to address the jobshortage in the information technology area.
Now, last year, a bipartisan majority in the House ofRepresentatives passed a bill that would achieve the goals that Ihave called for for years now. A similar bill has attractedbipartisan support in the Senate. I'm encouraged by reports that theSenate is likely to take up this legislation. In the wake of theseemployment numbers, with unemployment low and the crying demand forhigher skills and still people in some of our inner-cityneighborhoods and rural areas unemployed, I ask the Senate to passthis bill and send it to me so that I can sign it into law. Thelegislation is essential to help more Americans win in today'seconomy and to keep our recovery going.
Unemployment is low, job growth is strong, our economyis expanding at a healthy pace. We are uniquely poised now to widenthe circle of opportunity for the 21st century. Passing the G.I.Bill for America's workers is one of the best ways we can continue togrow.
Thank you, and thank you to the economic team andcongratulations to the American people. Thank you very much.