Today, we learned that the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment has fallen below 300,000 for the first time since the pandemic began — a drop of more than 60 percent since I took office, and the lowest weekly figure since March 14, 2020. While this is just one week, the fact that the four-week average declined is yet another sign of progress. With wages rising and our unemployment rate back below 5 percent for the first time since the pandemic struck, it is clear that our economy is getting back to normal despite the global challenges posed by the Delta variant.
I have said from the beginning that we cannot fully bring our economy back unless we beat the pandemic — and here, too, we are seeing encouraging signs. As vaccination requirements have gone into effect, more and more Americans are getting vaccinated. In fact, we now have 66 million eligible Americans that are unvaccinated, down from almost 100 million in July. We are making important progress against the Delta variant, and our economy is gaining strength in turn.
With both COVID-19 cases and unemployment claims declining, it is clearer than ever that America is in the midst of an historic economic recovery — one that continues to lead the world. The first half of this year saw our economy grow at the fastest rate in four decades. The last three months have seen the largest fall in long-term unemployment since we began keeping records in 1948. And with an average of 600,000 new jobs created each month since I took office, we have dramatically outpaced the previous record of job growth under a new president. But to transform this historic momentum into a sustained economic boom, it is critical that we take action now to invest in our nation and our people. We must pass both the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act and the Build Back Better Act to strengthen the foundations of our economy, revitalize our middle class, and position America to compete and win for decades to come.