State Dining Room
11:50 A.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Hey, folks. Good morning. It's still morning by about 10 minutes. (Laughter.) I want to speak to you this morning about the extraordinary resilience and grit of the American people and American capitalism.
Our country is taking everything that COVID has to throw at us, and we've come back stronger.
I'm pleased to report this morning what many of you already know: that America's job machine is going stronger than ever, fueling a strong recovery and opportunity for hardworking women and men all across this great country.
America is back to work.
Today we learned that in January, our economy created 467,000 jobs. But that's not all. We learned that job growth in November and December over last year was revised up by more than 700,000 jobs. On top of that, 400,000 jobs are previously - on top of the 400,000 that were previously reported.
This morning's report caps off my first year as President. And over that period, our economy created 6.6 million jobs - 6.6 million jobs.
If you can't remember another year when so many people went to work in this country, there's a reason: It never happened.
Take a look at the chart. You can look at the last - all the way back to President Reagan. Look how many jobs we've created in - on average per month. This is - it's never happened before. And, look, history has been made here.
But it comes alongside the largest drop in unemployment rate in a single year on record, the largest reduction in childhood poverty ever recorded in a single year, and the strongest economic growth this country has seen in nearly 40 years. Historic economic progress.
And I'm proud of the role the administration played in this economic plan and has played in the recovery: you know, the Rescue Plan that Democrats passed to get the economy going again; the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that's starting to get underway, rebuilding bridges, roads, highways, ports, airports, Internet, and so much more that we're doing as well; and my decision at the outset of our administration to buy American. It's always been the law; it was very seldom ever followed. Now it's a reality, not an empty promise.
I made clear that when the federal government spends taxpayer dollars, we buy American products - American products made in America, including all the component parts of that product, with very few exceptions.
With the support of the American private sector, our business leaders and entrepreneurs, our workers, our union leaders - they've all come together like never before in my days in Washington.
I know it hasn't been easy. I know that January was a very hard month for many Americans. I know that after almost two years, the physical and emotional weight of the pandemic has been incredibly difficult to bear for so many people.
But here's the good news: We have the tools to save lives and to keep businesses open and keep schools open, keep workers on the job, and sustain this historic economic comeback. Vaccination and boosters have proven incredibly effective.
This past month, we started mailing out tens of millions of at-home tests to deliver to your home for free so you can determine whether or not you have COVID. And that's in addition to the 20,000 sites across America where you can get a test in person, for free, to determine whether or not you have COVID.
And we have more treatments today to keep people out of the hospital, including lifesaving antiviral pills, which we purchased millions of.
And now we're seeing the difference our efforts have made.
Look at what's happened: Just in the past three weeks, today's extraordinary job report data was collected; the COVID crisis has been cut in half - down in half in just three weeks. Still too many cases, still we have to be on the - on the alert. But to be clear: This is a dramatic decline.
Now, I want to be clear: Even with the extraordinary news, even with historic economic progress we've made across the past year, we still have a lot of work to do. Making sure every American has a job is a great start, but it's not the finish.
For many Americans, wages are up this year. In January, wage increases were strong across the board, and that's good. We have to continue to keep wages growing. And we need even more high-paying jobs - jobs you can raise a family on and have some breathing room.
Two weeks ago, the CEO of Intel, Pat Gelsinger, came to the White House to announce a brand new $20 billion semiconductor factory - they call it a "campus" - outside of Columbus, Ohio. It's going to create 7,000 jobs just constructing the facility and 3,000 permanent jobs running the facility, with an average salary of $135,000.
These semiconductors or microchips power virtually everything in our everyday lives, from our cellphones to automobiles to refrigerators, the Internet, the electric grid. Without semiconductors, these things do not function in a modern economy.
So, the spin-off of this is going to create thousands of additional jobs as well, helping us build more American products in manufacturing automobiles, appliances, and so much more. It's going to create jobs, and it's going to help ease inflation.
One of the reasons why automobiles cost so much money these days and they're responsible for one third of all the inflation that's calculated in a market is because they lack the semiconductors to build the vehicles.
Intel's announcement helps us fix that problem.
Last week, I called a meeting of CEOs from General Motors, Ford, Microsoft, and other major corporations in America.
Mary Barra of General Motors, the chairman of the board - the CEO, I should say - announced a $7 billion investment in a Michigan manufacturing plant to manufacture electric vehicles. It's going to create 4,000 new, quality jobs at prevailing wage.
That's on top of the announcement last year made by Ford's CEO, Jim Farley, who was with us, to invest $11 billion to make electric vehicles, creating 11,000 new good-paying jobs.
Look, last Friday I went to Pittsburgh, where the Pacific - the Union Pacific Railroad announced the largest purchase of American battery-electric locomotives in history, built in Erie, Pennsylvania - built by American manufacturing workers in Western Pennsylvania, creating even more good-paying jobs.
And again, the spin-off from that: These locomotives aren't just going to be purchased in America. Countries around the world - because they're going to be the best product - are going to purchase them - American-made electric vehicles made in Erie, Pennsylvania. Good-paying jobs.
Look, we all know we're in competition with the world. These announcements are the drumbeat a job - of a job resurgence unlike anything we've seen in our history.
And it didn't happen by chance. It's a result of the economic plan I put into action on day one when I said it's going be "buy America." I'm delighted to keep it going and expand what we've done, because we have a great opportunity ahead of us to further progress - make progress where - beyond what we've already made.
Look, the House of Representatives just passed, a few minutes ago - just before I walked over here - to provide $90 billion - over $90 billion - for research and development, manufacturing, and all those elements of the supply chain needed to produce end products right here in America, so we can keep delivering more announcements like the one we've had in these past few weeks.
Another way we're boosting our economy is by promoting competition.
Look, a hamburger is, you know, up four times - four-fold almost in many places. Well, guess what? Meat processing, meat processors are - shipping, railroads, and other industries - are dominated by a few giant companies that control the market they operate in.
And over the years, this domination in the market by a smaller number of companies - smaller and smaller - it's about four in the meatpacking area - has reduced competition; squeezed out small businesses and farmers; and, in many cases, increased prices - at almost all of them - increased prices for consumers.
Look, I'm a capitalist. But capitalism without competition is not capitalism; it's exploitation. So, I'm going to continue to do everything in my power to work with the Congress to make our capitalist system work better, to provide more competition, and lower prices for American consumers.
And they're still going to do well. But that isn't going to be enough. We still need to ease the burden on working families by making everyday things more affordable and accessible.
Look, average people are getting clobbered by the cost of everything today. Gas prices at the pump are up. We're working to bring them down, but they're up.
Food prices are up. We're working to bring them down as well.
Look, I grew up in a family where if the price for a gallon of gas at the pump went up significantly, it was felt by the family. I get it. I understand. But these things are necessities, but that's not the totality of what the family needs. They still have to pay for childcare. They still have to pay for prescription drugs. They still have to pay for healthcare.
There's more than one way to help a family when it comes to their standard of living. We're going to work to bring down the prices that are way up, but guess what? Guess what? We're going to keep strengthening the supply chains to bring down the costs of every - all of these goods.
But in the meantime, there is a lot we can do to give families a little extra breathing room.
For example, childcare. Families can spend $14,000 a year per child, in some cases in this country - in some cases less than $14,000 a year - for childcare.
Our plan cuts in half most - what most families are paying, helping their budgets; helping - keeping millions of parents, and especially women, allowed to go back to work because they can get childcare.
Or the cost of prescription drugs, like insulin. Insulin costs about $10 to make. But for families who need the insulin, they're paying up to $650 a month on average in some places and as high as $1,000 a month.
Think about all of those Americans out there with Type 1 diabetes who need this insulin to stay alive and stay healthy, or the 200,000 American children with Type 1 diabetes.
Think about being one of the parents without the insurance or the money to pay for that insulin. How do you look your child in the eye who needs that insulin? They have no idea how they're going to figure out how to pay for it.
Think about what it does to them - to their self-esteem, their dignity, their ability to look their child in the eye.
We cap the cost of insulin at $35 on our plan - $35 a month. The companies are still going to make a healthy profit. We could do that tomorrow with the stroke of a pen.
But we have a generation of - so-called, for example, "sandwich generation." That is you have a young child and an elderly parent who need - both need help. And look, we can help them take care of mom and dad and make it work.
There's a program that allows us to - on Medicare - that someone can come and install a handrail in the shower so mom doesn't fall; to make sure they have what they need to live with safety and dignity in their home, pick up the prescriptions, make an occasional meal. We can do all that.
So when a mom and dad puts their head on the pillow at night, they can have peace of mind that their elderly parents are doing well and their children are okay.
We're still going to work on gas prices. We're still going to work on the food prices. But in the meantime, we can deliver that peace of - we can deliver that peace of mind to the American people and give them a little breathing room.
And, by the way, the proposals that I have out there - nobody earning less than $400,000 a year would pay a single additional penny in taxes. Not a single penny. And a lot of companies that I've spoken to are willing to pay a little more in their corporate taxes and their personal taxes to see that happen.
You've heard me say it a hundred times: You got 55 companies of the Fortune 500 companies that paid zero tax in the last couple years, and they made over $400 billion.
Look, we can do this without increasing the deficit. Actually, we've reduced the deficit over $300 billion.
And 17 Nobel laureates in economics came to me several months ago to say that this plan would not only not raise inflation, it would ease long-term inflationary pressures.
Look, the bottom line is this: The United States is once again in a position to not only compete with the rest of the world but outcompete the rest of the world once again.
If we can keep coming together and invest in the backbone of America - working class and the middle-class folks - there's no limit to what we can achieve.
So let's keep the rais- - the wages rising, and let's start lowering costs.
Our businesses are the best in the world. Our workers are the best in the world. Give them half a chance and they'll outcompete anyone, anywhere in the world.
We can have a quality of life for working people that they deserve at the same time.
And, by the way, the middle class, when it does well; when the working class does well - everybody does well. Everything is better for the wealthy, the super-wealthy, and the slightly wealthy. Nobody gets hurt.
So let's face these challenges head on. Let's keep building a better America.
I want to thank you. And God bless you, and may God protect our troops. Thank you.
12:05 P.M. EST