Question-and-Answer Session With Television Station Representatives Participating in a Job-a-Thon

January 14, 1983

Mr. Scott. Mr. President.

The President. Yes.

Mr. Scott. Good evening, sir. This is Kevin Scott.

The President. Well, good evening.

Mr. Scott. Thank you so much for your kind endorsement at the beginning of this Job Fair.

The President. Well, believe me, I'd like to thank all the people in the businesses responsible for making this Job Fair a success. This project is a perfect example of how creative private sector actions can help Americans live better lives. All of you involved here in Washington and in Cincinnati, Kansas City, Buffalo, and Birmingham deserve great credit. Your working together to help find jobs for those men and women in your communities who need them is making all the difference.

And to those of you who are not involved, but who can find a way to provide even one job for a qualified worker, I encourage you to call this station now. You can make this Job Fair work for all of us.

Mr. Scott. Mr. President?

The President. Yes.

Mr. Scott. Thank you so much for those kind words. And, of course, that is our prayer and our hope and our goal tonight.

A big question, of course, being asked by all those on the unemployed list is: Can you, sir -- can you offer any encouragement to get more people back to work soon?

The President. The last word in your question there is the question mark -- the ``soon.'' I believe that the plan that we have in place is one that is responsible for all the good economic signs that we're seeing right now -- the coming down of inflation, all the turnups, the market, everything else. And I think that what we've been holding out for is not the kind of quick fix that we've had in the seven other recessions since World War II, artificial stimulants and creation of the money supply and so forth; we think it'll be a lasting recovery. But tragically the last thing to respond when you're having a recovery from a recession is employment. And I just -- that's why I'm so interested in things like this that you're doing.

I think we are going to see a recovery. And we're going to see it in this year ahead and a greater growth in the economy. But I wish that I could say it's going to happen next week or next month, but I know it's there and I know it's coming. But I can't give you a time on it.

Mr. Scott. Mr. President, we'd like to get one question in from one of our other stations along the line. Is someone there, please?

Q. Yes, this is Buffalo -- --

The President. Yes.

Q. -- -- Susan Banks in Buffalo. Again, I'd like to thank you for all of us here for participating in our program. I'd like to ask a question on behalf of our steelworkers here in western New York. We just had some massive, terrible layoffs. Can you address any words of encouragement to them?

The President. Here is one of the problems that I think has to do possibly with structural unemployment. And part of this unemployment, of course, is the recession, but also part of it is structural. And recently the industrial countries, like our own, in Europe, Japan, have found that increasing competition from some of the lesser developed countries who have modern plants now and lower salary scale and so forth than we have, have cut into all the steel markets.

I don't know that the steel industry -- there certainly will always be one. We must produce much of our own steel, or we wouldn't have any national security if we didn't. But I don't know whether all of the jobs that have been lost in the steel industry will come back. But -- --

Q. We appreciate that honest response, Mr. Reagan. Thank you very much.

The President. That's why we're stressing job training -- to make sure that those people who might find that jobs have been permanently lost, that there's other work they can do.

Q. Mr. President, this is Cincinnati calling. Now we would also like to thank you very much for your participation this evening and giving your encouragement. This may be the very closest and direct contact that the people in our area may have with you, and we want to know if you can express in your words why small business men and women who may be watching us now should call Jobs Fair with job opportunities for people in our area. What's in it for them?

The President. Well, they're bound to benefit if there is a recovery. And a part of that recovery is going to be more people working, more people back on the payroll, thus able to buy and be consumers contributing to the tax revenues and so forth by once again being employed. And that's why I made the suggestion back just before Christmas that if every industry or business -- I know that many can't, that many businesses are just in the same situation as those who are unemployed. But if businesses who can would just take a look and see if they could take on another employee, they could make quite a dent and speed the recovery just that much.

Q. Mr. President, Phil Witt in Kansas City, here at WDAF. This is the kind of private initiative you've spoken of often, Mr. President, this Job Fair idea. And thank you for your participation. But employers say they can't do this retraining and retooling and -- --

The President. You've faded out on me. I can't hear you.

Q. Sir, can you hear me now?

They say they can't do this retooling and rehiring alone, the employers. What help can you offer on a national scale through the Government to help do this?

The President. I've had great difficulty. You were fading in and out, and I don't think that I've gotten your question there enough to know what it was. You were asking something about, if I gathered, that something that businesses find is a problem?

Q. Yes, Mr. President. Can you hear me now, sir?

Mr. Scott. I'm sorry, Mr. President, apparently we cannot hear our station in Kansas City. We are most grateful to you for taking some time out from your busy schedule tonight to join us here, briefly, on this very important Job Fair. And we certainly are delighted to hear your words of encouragement, although we recognize it's not going to happen overnight.

And as you wish us well, we wish you well in the task that faces you in the coming year.

Q. And from Buffalo, too. And we must say goodby and get on with it. Thank you, Mr. President.

The President. Well, listen, you get on with your show and get this done.

And let me just say this other thing, too. I'm delighted to have been asked and to participate even a little bit. And when I said that there were encouraging signs, we noted the automobile industry has improved. That was one of the big factors in the recession that started the slide, and so was the housing industry. And right now, the housing starts in America are up 66 percent over last year, and sale of new houses is up 47 percent. Now, this not only contributes to employment; but this is something that's going to stimulate the economy, because people building houses mean people are going to be buying appliances and things of that kind.

And so, I just -- I know that we can be on the way. And I'm grateful to all of you for what you're doing. I think this is a wonderful thing, and I wish you all success.

Mr. Scott. President Reagan, Mr. President, thank you ever so much. And we're going to get back to the business at hand of trying to find some jobs for some of those folks out there.

The President. Okay. Good enough.

Mr. Scott. Have a good evening.

The President. Thank you.

Note: The President spoke at 8:15 p.m. from the Residence to the five Taft Broadcasting stations.