Home Search The American Presidency Project
John Woolley and Gerhard Peters Home Data Documents Elections Media Links

** NOTE: The American Presidency Project will soon launch a new website with a more contemporary look and improved search capability. While we continue "beta testing" the new site, please excuse lapses in updating this site.
We expect to have the new site on-line in June.

• Public Papers of the Presidents
• State of the Union
Addresses & Messages
• Inaugural Addresses
• Farewell Addresses
• Weekly Addresses
• Fireside Chats
• News Conferences
• Executive Orders
• Proclamations
• Signing Statements
• Press Briefings
• Statements of
 Administration Policy
• Economic Report of the President
• Debates
• Convention Speeches
• Party Platforms
• 2016 Election Documents
• 2012 Election Documents
• 2008 Election Documents
• 2004 Election Documents
• 1996 Election Documents
• 1968 Election Documents
• 1960 Election Documents
• 2017 Transition
• 2009 Transition
• 2001 Transition
• White House Media Pool Reports
Data Index
Audio/Video Index
Election Index
Florida 2000
Presidential Libraries
View Public Papers by Month and Year

INCLUDE documents from the Office of the Press Secretary
INCLUDE election campaign documents, vice presidential documents, first lady, and other executive branch officals
Search the Entire Document Archive
Enter keyword: 

Limit by Year

To    :

Limit results per page

INCLUDE documents from the Office of the Press Secretary

INCLUDE election campaign documents, vice presidential documents, first lady, and other executive branch officals

You can search the Public Papers in two ways:

1. Search by Keyword and Year
You can search by keyword and choose the range of years within your search by filling out the boxes under Search the Public Papers.

2. View by Month and/or Year
Select the month and/or year you would like information about and press View Public Papers. Then choose a Public Paper and the page will load for you.

Search Engine provided by the Harry S. Truman Library. Our thanks to
Jim Borwick and Dr. Rafee Che Kassim at Project Whistlestop for critical assistance in the implementation of the search function, and to Scott Roley at the Truman Library for facilitating this collaboration.
Ronald Reagan: Radio Address to the Nation on the Observance of Labor Day
Ronald Reagan
Radio Address to the Nation on the Observance of Labor Day
September 4, 1982
Public Papers of the Presidents
Ronald Reagan<br>1982: Book II
Ronald Reagan
1982: Book II

United States
Font Size:
The American Presidency Project

Promote Your Page Too

My fellow Americans:

I'm glad to join all of you on this final weekend of the summer. Family vacations are now ending, kids are going back to school, and communities all over the Nation are preparing for Labor Day parades. And, by the way, this year marks the 100th anniversary of the first Labor Day parade. It isn't true that I was in that first parade; I've just read about it.

On Monday, we celebrate the dignity and productivity of America's working people. Our country has prospered because we're a nation of workers, and today there are nearly 100 million at work—more than 100 million according to the unadjusted figures and 99.8 million in the seasonally adjusted figures. Now, if that confuses you, well, I'm confused, too.

Unfortunately, on this Labor Day, however, too many of our fellow citizens are unemployed. That's a terrible word, "unemployed." It means hardship, uncertainty, frustration, helplessness. Many who are unemployed feel caught up in something they don't understand and over which they have no control. And they're right. It's not the fault of the laid-off fellow in Detroit that he's out of work. It's not his fault the autos aren't rolling down the assembly line. It's not the fault of the unemployed mother in Delaware that the printing plant closed down, throwing her out of a job.

The fact is unemployment has been gaining on us for years. Since 1976 the unemployment rate in this country has averaged over 7 percent—far higher than in earlier postwar years. It was only 2.9 percent in 1953.

I'm convinced that in these last few decades the increased intervention by government in the marketplace, tax policies that took too great a percentage of overall earnings, plus burdensome and unnecessary regulations reduced economic growth and kept us from creating new jobs for newcomers entering the job market.

Today the unemployment rate is 9.8 percent, and still the number of people with jobs is a higher percentage of those of working age than we had in times of full employment-higher than in 1953 when, as I said, unemployment was only 2.9 percent. I guess what I'm trying to point out is that our unemployment problem is due to more than just the present recession. We must not only work our way out of the recession, we must adopt policies that will stimulate economic growth and create new jobs for the increased numbers entering the job market.

This is the goal of our economic recovery program. Yes, it marks a decided turnaround from government tax-and-spend policies of the past four decades—deliberately so. And I believe it'll work. Indeed, the signs are there that it's beginning to work.

Last week I called attention to the decline in interest rates—21 1/2 percent down to 13 1/2 percent; inflation down from 12.4 percent to 5.4 percent since the first of the year. A family of four with a $15,000 income has $1,000 more in purchasing power than it would have if inflation had stayed at 12.4 percent.

Now, I know this is hard to see because prices keep going up. But they aren't going up as fast or as much as they were. What we're all waiting for is that zero rate when they stay where they are or even drop a little. Well, that, too, is what our program is designed to accomplish. And the leading economic indicators by which we know whether the economy is improving or getting worse have climbed for the fourth month in a row. That hasn't happened for a long time.

Clearly, the most important question now before us is whether we have the will and determination to hold our course. The next test will come when the Congress returns to Washington and decides whether to sustain my veto of a supplemental spending bill that would drive up spending once again. I hope we can work together to develop a more responsible bill.

In the meantime, I hope you'll join me this Labor Day weekend in saluting the workers of America. And while we're doing that, perhaps we can spare a moment of prayer for some workers in another country.

Here in America on Labor Day, we hold parades to support the principles of freedom. In Poland a few days ago, the people peacefully gathered to mark the second anniversary of Solidarity—a labor movement which revived our hope that nonviolent change and basic human rights could come to a closed Communist community. Their parade was met with guns, concussion grenades, tear gas, and water cannons.

As we attend our parades and picnics, let us remember how fortunate we are to be a free people. Let us remember the handwritten prayer that was recently found in an alcove of a Polish church. It read, "Thank you, Lord, that into this temple I may bring verses. It's the only place in our homeland where every Pole feels free and where he may evoke his pain. I beg you to give my country the strength to endure."

Well, let us in America be thankful for the strength of our free labor movement. May it long endure.

Thanks for listening, and God bless you. I'll be back next week at this same time.

Note: The President spoke at 9:06 a.m. from Rancho del Cielo, his ranch near Santa Barbara, Calif
Citation: Ronald Reagan: "Radio Address to the Nation on the Observance of Labor Day ," September 4, 1982. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=42916.
© 1999-2018 - Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley - The American Presidency Project ™
Locations of visitors to this page