Remarks on the Unemployment Rate and an Informal Exchange With Reporters

 

May 6, 1988

 

The President. Okay. Well, I have just a brief announcement here to make, then you can all -- well, you can all get out of here. [Laughter] The good news on the economy continues: Unemployment is the lowest it's been since 1974, and the proportion of our population working is at an all-time high. The figures have been given out this morning that the rate of unemployment is 5.4 percent, but this thing of the proportion of the population -- out of what is considered to be the potential employment pool, all of the age groups for jobs -- 62.2 percent of that pool is now employed. And one of the best barometers of the state of our economy is to see more people working. Today's report, coupled with those of the last 2 weeks, shows that the economy continues to grow at a moderate pace, and inflation is under control.

 

End of announcement.

 

Former White House Officials' Memoirs

 

Q. Mr. President, do you feel betrayed by the books that some of your former aides have written? Mr. Regan's [former Chief of Staff to the President] book is coming out this weekend.

 

The President. Well, I've tried to avoid commenting on all the kiss-and-tell books, but I doubt that they will be on my reading list either.

 

Q. What would your book-writing advice be to Cabinet members and advisers who are still around?

 

The President. Well, I trust all these people. [Laughter]

 

Q. Has Regan sent you his book yet?

 

The President. What?

 

Q. Has Regan sent you his book?

 

The President. No, and I don't think he's going to send one unless I'm prepared to send a check in return. [Laughter]

 

Q. Are you angry at him?

 

The President. What?

 

Q. Are you angry at him? Do you think you feel betrayed?

 

The President. Well, I will say this, that I would have preferred it if he decided to attack me. And apparently from what we hear, he's chosen to attack my wife, and I don't look kindly upon that at all.

 

Q. Thank you.

 

Q. You can rebuttal, you know, in your memoirs -- [laughter] -- when and if.

 

The President. I carry a pen all the time, Helen [Helen Thomas, United Press International].

 

Note: The President spoke at 11 a.m. in the Cabinet Room at the White House, prior to a Cabinet meeting.