Remarks on the National Economy and an Exchange With Reporters in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware
The President. Hello, folks. Good morning. Today we received great news for our economy and our recovery and for the American people.
This morning we learned that, in May, our economy created 559,000 new jobs, unemployment rate fell to 5.8 percent, and wages went up for American workers. That means we have now created over 2 million jobs in total since I took office, more jobs than have ever been created in the first 4 months of any Presidency in modern history, triple the rate of my predecessor, eight times the rate of President Reagan.
The unemployment rate is now below 6 percent for the first time since the pandemic hit. The first 14 months—first time—first time in 14 months, we saw the largest decline in the number of long-term unemployed, more—in more than an entire decade, in the last 10 years. Long-term unemployment dropped by the second largest amount ever recorded. Not only that, but the signs of further progress are already here.
This report is based on a weekly—a week in early May. That's how we—they determine the job rate—growth or loss; we have growth. And that—and this—that week in May, we only had 35 percent of working-age adults had been fully vaccinated. Now we're still all—they were still all wearing masks.
Since then, 21 million more adults have gotten vaccinated, making it easy for them to return to work safely. In short, this is progress, historic progress. Progress that's pulling our economy out of the worst crisis it's been in 100 years. And it's testament to the new strategy that is growing this economy, not only growing it, but growing it from the bottom up and the middle out.
Remember, when I took office in January, our economy was in a tailspin, job growth had stalled, COVID was raging, average initial claims for unemployment insurance were over 830,000 per week. Now those claims have fallen below 430,000, about half of what they were when I took office.
Before I took office, almost 24 million Americans were going hungry. Remember those long lines of cars, miles long, people waiting for just a box of food to be put in their trunk? That number has already dropped by 25 percent. Still too many, but clear progress.
Before I took office, independent experts were projecting that the American economy would grow by 3 or 4 percent in 2021—this year. This week, the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development—the so-called OECD, which makes up a group that includes the world's largest economies in its membership and has been one of the leading bodies analyzing economic growth worldwide in individual nations—increased their projection for U.S. economic growth this year to 6.9 percent in 2021. That's the fastest pace in nearly four decades.
In fact, the U.S. is the only major economy where projections of future growth are stronger today than they were before the pandemic hit in 2020. And in May, manufacturing activity was nearly as strong as it was in more than 15 years—stronger than in 15 years. No other major economy in the world is growing as fast as ours. No other major economy is gaining jobs as quickly as ours.
And none of this success is an accident; it isn't luck. It's due in no small part, first of all, to the cooperation of the American people in responding to my effort to get COVID under control: wearing masks initially and getting vaccinated. And it's no small part to the bold action we took by passing the American Rescue Plan. The plan provided those resources to get shots in people's arms; underwrite the vaccination effort; enough vaccine supply for every single American; more vaccinators, people to put shots in the arms; and more vaccination sites.
And now 52 percent—52 percent—of American adults are fully vaccinated. 75 percent of our seniors are fully vaccinated. And the American Rescue Plan delivered economic benefits directly to the American people.
Because of that law, more than 167 million of those rescue payments of up to $1,400 have gone out to individual families. A recent study, the Census Bureau data found just how much these checks mattered. They drastically reduced depression—according to the study—anxiety, and hardship for families. More than 40 percent fewer families struggled to afford food, rent, utilities, car payments, student loans, and health care expenses.
Small businesses and restaurants are—were getting killed. Now we're delivering loans and support they need to reopen and to stay open. Schools are struggling to reopen, so we made vaccinating teachers a priority. We delivered schools the much support they needed. State and local governments had to lay off tens of thousands of educators and first responders. Many are now back on the job, thanks to the Rescue Plan.
In fact, in May, State and local governments added 103,000 education jobs, returned them to work. These funds are continuing to get out this month to support State and local governments, which will help get more people back to work.
Small and medium-sized businesses are now able to take advantage of a special tax credit called the Employee Retention Tax Credit. It provides businesses a generous tax credit to retain or hire more workers. Through our Restaurant Revitalization Fund, we anticipate being able to help over 100,000 hard-hit restaurants stay open or reopen.
And beginning next month, most families with children will be getting a tax cut, which will be going into—deposited into their accounts—directly into their bank accounts every month.
We know that access to childcare is one of the biggest barriers in the way of parents going back to work. Our administration is delivering $39 billion in childcare relief to help childcare providers get back on their feet—the providers—and serve more families. And this month, our economy added nearly 20,000 more childcare jobs that weren't there last month—in fact, allowing parents to have access to get help.
And temporary boost in unemployment benefits that ended—that we enacted, I should say—helped people who lost their jobs through no fault of their own, and who still may be in the process of getting vaccinated. But it's going to expire in 90 days. That makes sense it expires in 90 days.
To sum it up: Look, COVID cases are down, COVID deaths are up [down],* unemployment filings are down, hunger is down, and vaccinations are up, jobs are up, wages are up, manufacturing is up, growth is up, people gaining health care coverage is up, and small-business confidence is up.
America is finally on the move again. As we continue this recovery, we're going to hit some bumps along the way. Of course, that will happen. We can't reboot the world's largest economy like flipping on a light switch. There's going to be ups and downs in jobs and economic reports, but we're going to be—supply chain issues and price pressures on the way back to stability and steady growth.
In the coming weeks, my administration is going to take steps to combat these supply constraints, building on the work we're doing on the computer chips; that is, we're providing more computer chips to be manufactured here in the United States so it doesn't slow up the manufacturing of automobiles, for example.
Everyone needs to get their shots though. Now is the time to accelerate the process [progress]* we've been making. Now is the time to build on the foundation we've laid, because while our progress is undeniable, it is not assured.
That's why I proposed the American Jobs Plan and the American Family Plan for generational investments we need today. We need to make those investments today to be able to continue to succeed tomorrow. We have a chance to seize on the economic momentum of the first months of my administration, not just to build back, but to build back better.
This much is already clear: We're on the right track. Our plan is working. And we're not going to let up now. We're going to continue to move on. I'm extremely optimistic. I hope you are as well.
And may God bless you, may God bless America, and may God protect our troops. Thank you all for being here this morning. Thank you.
Infrastructure and Jobs Legislation
Q. President Biden, do you have—[inaudible]—on the infrastructure talks?
The President. I'm going to be having a talk this afternoon, and I'll be able to report to you after that.
Q. Are you expecting a counteroffer, Mr. President?
The President. I'll tell you after I meet this afternoon.
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony S. Fauci
Q. Mr. President, do you still have confidence in Dr. Fauci?
[At this point, having already left the room, the President stuck his head back in the doorway and responded to the question as follows.]
The President. Yes, I'm very confident in Dr. Fauci. [Laughter]
NOTE: The President spoke at 10:38 a.m. at the Rehoboth Beach Convention Center. In his remarks, he referred to former President Donald J. Trump.
* White House correction.
Joseph R. Biden, Remarks on the National Economy and an Exchange With Reporters in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/350230