Remarks to Reporters on the Decline in the Unemployment Rate

May 8, 1987

The President. Well, good morning. There's some news I thought you'd like to hear about this Friday morning. The figures are in for April. Total employment rose by 466,000 in April. Unemployment decreased by 354,000. And that means the unemployment rates for all workers and for all civilian workers fell to 6.2 and 6.3, respectively.

I wish they'd get used to talking about the first figure, the 6.2, because that includes the military, and I'm convinced they're working. They've got jobs.

That's a drop of a full .3 percentage point in a single month, and it marks the lowest unemployment rate in more than 7 years. And it's worth pointing out that these numbers exceed the expectations of most private forecasters, and taken together with the healthy gains in employment during the first quarter of this year, these April statistics indicate that economic expansion and creation of jobs continues at a strong pace.

End of statement.

Q. What happened to the unemployment rate for minorities, Mr. President?

The President. What?

Q. Unemployment rate for minorities?

The President. Well, I'm not going to take any questions except, because you asked that one on this point, it is my understanding that for some period now the unemployment rate for minorities is dropping faster than the general unemployment rate.

Q. Mr. President, do you think that private persons carrying out your foreign policy should profiteer from it?

The President. Helen [Helen Thomas, United Press International], I can't take any -- --

Q. Have you been watching Secord?

The President. A little, but I can't take any questions here now. We've got to get down to some very urgent business.

Q. Is Colonel North still a national hero, Mr. President?

The President. No questions -- unless you want to ask about unemployment. [Laughter]

Q. What do you think of Hart bowing out?

Note: The President spoke at 9:10 a.m. in the Cabinet Room at the White House, prior to a meeting with Members of Congress.