Jen Psaki: President Joe Biden's first year marked by tremendous progress

·3 min read
President Joe Biden warned Russia during a news conference in the East Room of the White House on Jan. 19.
President Joe Biden warned Russia during a news conference in the East Room of the White House on Jan. 19.

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A year ago, few would have imagined that 2021 would be the greatest year of job growth in American history. That the unemployment rate would be at 3.9% now, down from 6% at the start of 2021 – the biggest one-year drop in history. And that unemployment claims would be at historic lows because so many Americans were back to work, often at better jobs with better pay.

None of that was preordained. President Joe Biden entered office in a time of chaos, with a pandemic at its most deadly peak, and with an economy sputtering at only 60,000 jobs per month.

But President Biden responded with the American Rescue Plan, which he got to work on before he even came into office. It put money in families’ pockets, helping them stay afloat during a pandemic recovery we knew would be rocky.

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It put shots in arms, funding an unprecedented vaccination effort that now has more than 70% of those 12 and older fully vaccinated, and vaccinations and boosters are free and widely available.

And it provided funding for schools to reopen, going from mass closures to more than 95% of schools open even as we fight through the omicron variant.

These bold actions by the president made America the global leader in our economic recovery from the pandemic. While other countries have seen recession, we have seen extremely high economic growth.

Americans' income has grown

While other countries have also seen high inflation due to global supply chain issues caused by the pandemic, their citizens’ bank accounts have fallen desperately behind. Americans have seen higher wages and support to keep them above water. President Biden’s actions have made America stand out in the world as we both recover and continue to deal with this global pandemic.

New small business applications are through the roof, layoffs are at record lows, and Americans are finding new and better jobs in numbers that many thought were a thing of the past.

But that was only the first of two historic legislative accomplishments – the second was a bipartisan infrastructure bill that had been promised by presidents for decades, but only now delivered.

That means creating millions of good-paying jobs rebuilding the ports and roads that make up our supply chains that get us what we need and let us sell what we make; rebuilding the broken down bridges we drive over with our families; fixing the lead pipes that far too many of our kids drink from; and connecting everybody to affordable high speed internet so every community can be a part of the 21st century economy.

We’ve already started to get this money out to the states and towns that need it, but we’ll be seeing the benefits for decades to come.

We still have more work to do

Despite all that progress, the president and his administration know that we are still finishing the fight against the pandemic, and the related fight against the higher prices that Americans are facing. The president is using every tool at our disposal to fight this problem hitting every Americans’ pocketbook, from making progress on supply chains, to promoting more competition to help consumers, to passing his Build Back Better agenda that would lower the core costs Americans have faced for decades, from prescription drugs to child care.

President Biden has gotten results, and the greatest year of job creation in history shows that, and he will keep up that fight every day and every year on the challenges that remain.

Jen Psaki is White House press secretary.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Joe Biden has made great progress in rebuilding America: Jen Psaki

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