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Unemployment Rate Breaks 4 Perscent Barrier for the First Time in Over Three Decades

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The Briefing Room

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release May 5, 2000


Today, the Bureau of Labor Statistics Released a New Employment Report Showing that the Unemployment Rate Has Fallen to 3.9 Percent -- the Lowest In Over Three Decades. The American Economy Has Created Over 21 Million Jobs Since January 1993. In 1992, when Bill Clinton was elected President, the American economy was barely creating jobs, wages were stagnant, and the unemployment rate was 7.5 percent. President Clinton’s bold, three-part economic strategy has focused on three objectives: fiscal discipline, investing in education, health care, science and technology, and opening foreign markets. This strategy has contributed to the longest economic expansion in U.S. history.

  • The Unemployment Rate Was 3.9 Percent in April –the Lowest in More Than Three Decades. The unemployment rate fell to 3.9 percent in April. The last time the unemployment rate was this low was in January 1970 -- more than thirty years ago. The unemployment rate has remained below 5 percent for 34 months in a row. For women the unemployment rate was 4.0 percent -- the lowest since 1953.

  • 21.6 Million New Jobs Created Under the Clinton-Gore Administration. Since January 1993, the economy has added 21.6 million new jobs. That’s the most jobs ever created under a single Administration -- and more new jobs than Presidents Reagan and Bush created during their three terms. Under President Clinton, the economy has added an average of 248,000 jobs per month, the highest of any President on record. This compares to 52,000 per month under President Bush and 167,000 per month under President Reagan.

  • 91 Percent -- 19.7 Million -- of the New Jobs Have Been Created in the Private Sector. Since President Clinton and Vice President Gore took office, the private sector of the economy has added 19.7 million new jobs. That is 91 percent of the 21.6 million new jobs -- the highest percentage since Harry S. Truman was President and presiding over the post-World War II demobilization.

  • African American and Hispanic Unemployment Rates Are the Lowest on Record . The unemployment rate for African Americans has fallen from 14.2 percent in 1992 to 7.2 percent in April 2000 -- the lowest rate on record. Unemployment for Hispanics has fallen from 11.6 percent in 1992 to 5.4 percent in April 2000 -- the lowest rate on record.

  • Most Rapid Growth in Construction Jobs In 50 Years. After losing 662,000 jobs in construction during the previous four years, 2.0 million new construction jobs have been added during the Clinton-Gore years -- that’s a faster annual rate (5.2 percent) than any other Administration since Harry S. Truman was President.

  • Fastest and Longest Real Wage Growth in Over Three Decades. In the last 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased 3.8 percent -- faster than the rate of inflation. The United States has had five consecutive years of real wage growth -- the longest consecutive increase since the 1960s.

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