This morning, we received the June employment report. It reflected the planned phase out of 225,000 temporary Census jobs. But it also showed the sixth straight month of job growth in the private sector. All told, our economy has created nearly 600,000 private sector jobs this year. That’s a stark turnaround from the first six months of last year, when we lost 3.7 million jobs at the height of the recession.
Now, make no mistake: We are headed in the right direction. But as I was reminded on a trip to Racine, Wisconsin, earlier this week, we’re not headed there fast enough for a lot of Americans. We’re not headed there fast enough for me, either. The recession dug us a hole of about 8 million jobs deep. And we continue to fight headwinds from volatile global markets. So we still have a great deal of work to do to repair the economy and get the American people back to work.
Speaking at Andrews Airforce Base on his way to Charleston, West Virginia for the Senator Byrd’s memorial service, the President also emphasized another key point: the Recovery Act is still in action, and still putting people back to work. The President took the opportunity to announce yet another component of the “Summer of Recovery”:
Secretary Locke and Secretary Vilsack have joined me here today to announce that the Departments of Commerce and Agriculture will invest in 66 new projects across America that will finally bring reliable broadband Internet service to communities that currently have little or no access.
In the short term, we expect these projects to create about 5,000 construction and installation jobs around the country. And once we emerge from the immediate crisis, the long-term economic gains to communities that have been left behind in the digital age will be immeasurable.
All told, these investments will benefit tens of millions of Americans -- more than 685,000 businesses, 900 health care facilities, and 2,400 schools around the -- across the country. And studies have shown that when communities adopt broadband access, it can lead to hundreds of thousands of new jobs. Broadband can remove geographic barriers between patients and their doctors. It can connect our kids to the digital skills and 21st century education required for the jobs of the future. And it can prepare America to run on clean energy by helping us upgrade to a smarter, stronger, more secure electrical grid.
So we’re investing in our people and we’re investing in their future. We’re competing aggressively to make sure that jobs and industries and the markets of tomorrow take root right here in the United States. We’re moving forward. And to every American who is looking for work, I promise you we are going to keep on doing everything that we can -- I will do everything in my power to help our economy create jobs and opportunity for all people.
Now, Sunday is the Fourth of July. And if that date reminds us of anything, it’s that America has never backed down from a challenge. We’ve faced our share of tough times before. But in such moments, we don’t flinch. We dig deeper, we innovate, we compete and we win. That's in our DNA. And it’s going to be what brings us through these tough times towards a brighter day.
So I want to say happy Fourth of July to everybody. I want our troops overseas to know that we are thinking of your bravery and grateful for your service.