Ronald Reagan picture

Radio Address to the Nation on the Observance of Labor Day

September 01, 1984

My fellow Americans:

This weekend marks the 90th observance of Labor Day, a well-deserved tribute to the working men and women whose dreams and hard work helped build America into the greatest Nation in the world. We know that what is good for the American worker is good for America. And as we prepare for a new season of work, I believe there's good reason for giving a hopeful thumbs up.

The outlook on Labor Day weekend 1984 is for a continuation of strong, steady economic growth, more jobs, and low inflation. We still have great challenges to meet, which I'll speak about in a moment. But we should also recognize the progress we've made together. It's an important source of confidence and inspiration for our future.

In the last 19 months, the jobless rate has fallen farther and faster then any recovery in the last 30 years. We've seen the creation of 6 1/2 million new jobs. The United States has created, on average, more jobs each month than all the Common Market countries combined in the last 10 years. The Europeans are calling our success the American miracle.

A case in point is the automobile industry. Unemployment peaked at 28 percent in 1980. By this July, auto industry unemployment was down to 6.1 percent, and there were 153,000 more people at work in auto industry jobs than 4 years ago.

A key reason the job growth has been so strong is our success in keeping inflation down. We haven't seen unemployment and inflation drop during any term since the Kennedy administration. And we're determined to bring inflation further down, just as we're determined to simplify our tax system so we can bring your tax rates further down, not up, as my opponent would do, harming the growth and progress we've made.

With inflation and tax rates down, the American miracle can continue: interest rates can come down further; peoples' earnings can continue to buy more; investment and productivity can keep on growing; new businesses can develop new products and markets; more jobs can be created; and all Americans can share in a dynamic, exciting future.

Our future can be one of boundless opportunity if we challenge the limits of growth through reforms like tax simplification and fight inflation by passing two longoverdue reforms: the balanced budget spending limitation amendment and the line-item veto.

We must also meet the challenge of pushing back our newest frontiers of science, high technology, and space. It's been estimated that high technology industries create jobs eight times as fast as low technology industries. Just as important, the knowledge we gain from the technological revolution enables our older industries to modernize their plants and equipment, increase their ability to compete in the world, and maintain and expand their work force.

Our citizens need training to step into these jobs, and that's why we initiated the Job Training Partnership Act. That act will train more than i million people a year to become productive, self-supporting citizens in the private economy.

One sure way to spur jobs through new technology is by promoting more research. On Thursday morning I visited the employees of Goddard Space Flight Center and assured them our administration will continue its strong support for research and development, particularly in our universities. Between 1981 and '85, Federal investment in basic research will have increased by almost 30 percent in real terms. The importance of research work in universities reminds us that we must go forward with our agenda for excellence in education so today's students at the elementary and secondary school level can go on to college and acquire the knowledge to work in our rapidly changing world.

At the same time, we must stimulate economic development in inner city areas that have not benefited from technological innovation or the economic expansion. We've proposed enterprise zones, offering strong incentives for people to start up new businesses in up to 75 areas of high unemployment, and a youth employment opportunity wage to open up job opportunities and reduce the high levels of teenage unemployment, especially among black youth.

Both enterprise zones and the youth employment opportunity wage would reduce dependency—providing new hope for millions—and they're supported by a broad coalition of minorities. But both have been blocked by the Democratic House leadership, the very people who profess compassion. Americans aspiring to lift themselves up should never be held down by partisan politics. We will keep our economy strong, and we will not rest until it can bring a job to the home of every American.

Until next week, thanks for listening. God bless you.

Note: The President spoke at 12:06 p.m. from the Oval Office at the White House.

Ronald Reagan, Radio Address to the Nation on the Observance of Labor Day Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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