For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
May 22, 2004
President's Radio Address
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. This week brought further evidence that across America, more citizens are finding jobs. The Department of Labor reported state-by-state job results, and these figures show that America's jobs engine is running strong.
Nationally, we gained 288,000 new jobs in April, and the nation has added more than 1.1 million new jobs since last August. The unemployment rate has fallen steadily, and now stands at 5.6 percent, down from 6.3 percent last June, and lower than the average unemployment rate of the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s.
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States that have trailed in job growth are now making progress. Wisconsin and Ohio have each added more than 30,000 new jobs this year. New Hampshire gained 2,700 new jobs in April, alone. And in Oregon, the unemployment rate has fallen from a high of 8.7 percent last summer, down to 6.7 percent in April, as the state has added 29,000 new jobs.
These gains are the result of the hard work of Americans -- and a pro-growth, pro-jobs agenda that begins with tax relief. When we let the American people keep more of what they earn and save, they put that money to good use. They demand more goods and services, which creates demand for new workers. Now that our economy is expanding and adding more jobs, we need to make sure Americans keep their tax relief.
Congress has begun to act. The House of Representatives has voted to make marriage penalty relief permanent, and to keep the expanded 10-percent bracket. This week the House also voted to make permanent the $1,000 per child tax credit, which is helping so many families. I congratulate the House on these important votes. Now the Senate should take action so we do not raise taxes on the American people.
To sustain our economic growth, we must also ensure affordable and reliable sources of energy. To protect consumers against high prices, the Department of Energy has established a hotline to gather complaints of price gouging. This weekend in Amsterdam, Secretary Spence Abraham is meeting with petroleum producers from around the world on actions they can take to help the U.S. and global economy. Also, we have reformed federal regulations to allow badly needed improvements and expansion of the nation's petroleum refineries, so that more gasoline can get to the market quickly.
But our nation must address fundamental energy challenges that have built over time. I have increased fuel economy standards for SUVs, vans, and pickups. And three years ago, I submitted to Congress a national energy strategy that would address our long-term energy needs. It called for tax incentives for fuel-efficient hybrid vehicles, more exploration in places like Alaska, and greater use of ethanol, a reliable source of energy produced on our farms.
This national strategy would help make our country less dependent on foreign sources of energy. Yet, these measures have been repeatedly blocked by members of the Senate -- and American consumers are paying the price. Three years is long enough. I urge the Congress to end the delays, and pass comprehensive energy legislation.
With the right policies, we will maintain the strong forward momentum of the American economy, which is creating thousands of new jobs for American workers.
Thank you for listening.