A new economy has emerged, which offers both opportunities and challenges for American families. When President Clinton took office, Americans were struggling in this new economy. Middle cl ass American families, playing by the rules, were working harder and harder just to stay in place. President Clinton is dedicated to ensuring that Americans can reap the opportunities in this new economy. That's why President Clinton's top priority when h e took office was restoring America's economic health. Here's how the economy has improved since President Clinton took office.
Now. Over seven million jobs have been created during Clinton Administration -- three times asmany new jobs as during the previous Administration -- in about half the time. In 1994 alone, theeconomy created 3.5 million jobs -- the best year of job growth in a decade. The unemployment rate is at 5.8 percent, down from over 7 percent at the start of the Administration.
These are good jobs, too. Over 90 percent of these new jobs have been created by the private sector -- that's higher than the average during any other administration since Warren Harding. In the last year, more jobs were created in high-wage industries than in the previous five years combined. After losing more than 2 million manufacturing jobs over the 12 years prior to the Clinton Administration, the economy has added 382,000 manufacturing jobs since the Clinton budget plan was passed. Auto jobs have increased by 94,000 during the Clinton Administration -- after declining by 44,000 during the previous 4 years. Construction jobs are up 715,000 jobs since January 1993.
Now. President Clinton has fought to restore fiscal sense and accountability. As a result of his budgets. the deficit is projected to decline for three years in a row for the first time since Harry Truman was President. The deficit will be more than one trillion dollars less over seven years because of the Clinton deficit plan. It will also drop in half as a percentage of national income -- from 4.9 percent to 2.4 percent. We have taken an ax to more than 300 wasteful government programs, eliminated 100,000 positions from the federal bureaucracy, and proposed a plan to bring the budget to balance by 2005. We're on the way to reducing it by 272,900 positions, making the government the smallest since the Presidency of John Kennedy.
Now. Under the President's economic plan, over 15 million families who work and make less than $27,000 received a tax cut to reward work through the expanded Earned Income Tax Credit. The plan made over 90 percent of small businesses eligible for a tax cut by increasing the eq uipment expensing provision and establishing the targeted capital gains tax preference. According to H&R Block and the Congressional Budget Office, income taxes rose only for the top 1.2 percent, while 98.8 percent of American taxpayers paid the same or l ess taxes. In addition, the President has proposed in the Middle Class Bill of Rights, a tax deduction for all education and training after high school; a $500 tax cut for each child under age 13; and tax breaks for families that save for education, the p urchase of a first home, or retirement.
Now. The Administration completed and passed NAFTA, concluded the Uruguay Round, and set the stage for new trade agreements with the dynamic economies in Asia and Latin America, setting the stage for global growth.
Today, America's economy is as strong as it has been in a generation. Other signs of the health of our economy: for the first time since 1984, all 50 states are expected to grow in 1995, according to Fortune. The United States overtook Japan as the world's number one auto producer in 1994 for the first time since before Ronald Reagan was President. Annual productivity growth was 2.3 percent in 1994, more than twice as high as the 1.1 percent annual average from 1989 to 1992. Consumer confidence has jumped almost 80 percent, reaching a four year high. Business investment in durable equipment -- shown to be closely associated with productivity gains -- has soared at an 18.6 percent annual rate since the Administration took office, a postwar high. CPI inflation durin g the Clinton Administration has averaged 2.8 percent per year. That is the lowest it has been for any administration since John F. Kennedy was President.