Statement by Assistant to the President for Press Relations Fitzwater on the Unemployment Rate and Deficit Reduction


December 4, 1987


Total employment in November rose by 327,000, and the unemployment rate declined by .1 percent to 5.8 percent. Especially encouraging is that manufacturing employment rose by 69,000 jobs, with widespread gains in most industrial categories. The economic expansion continues into its 60th month, and the signs indicate that the expansion will continue much longer. The strong employment growth in November is one sign that confidence in the economy remains steadfast. This is especially encouraging in view of the recent stock market declines.


As the unemployment rate continues to improve, the new deficit reduction agreement keeps swiftly making its way through the legislative process. The Senate Finance Committee has reported out a revenue package that is in keeping with the budget agreement approved by the President. While we do have some reservations about some of the provisions, we commend Senator Lloyd Bentsen and his committee for their quick and dedicated action on this important piece of the economic puzzle.


On the spending side, we have serious concerns about the omnibus spending bill. First, it does not specifically include the $2.6 billion in discretionary spending cuts called for by the agreement between the President and congressional leadership. Second, it does not continue the important aid to the Nicaraguan resistance. And it contains various extraneous provisions that do not belong.


The administration is continuing to work closely with the appropriate committees to ensure a responsible budget package, one that maintains the integrity of the deficit reduction package. We urge the leadership to quickly and fully implement all aspects of the budget agreement.