April 24, 2024

FACT SHEET: President Biden Highlights Allentown, Lehigh Valley, and Pennsylvania’s Economic Comeback

FACT SHEET: President Biden Highlights Allentown, Lehigh Valley, and Pennsylvania’s Economic Comeback

New data shows Biden-Harris Administration has three strongest years on record for new business applications, as Bidenomics and the President’s Investing in America agenda support good jobs and spur investments in Allentown

Today, President Biden will visit small businesses in the Allentown area of Pennsylvania that are at the heart of his plan to support communities too often left behind. Allentown, a historic steel town, was hollowed out by failed trickle-down economics. Under President Biden, Allentown is experiencing an economic comeback.

Driven by President Biden’s agenda to grow the economy from the middle out and the bottom up, communities like Allentown are creating jobs, attracting investments in manufacturing and infrastructure, and revitalizing Main Streets.

Record Small Business Filings
The Biden-Harris Administration’s Investing in America agenda has delivered a small business boom. New Census Bureau data shows that the first three years of the Biden-Harris Administration are the strongest years on record for new business applications, with nearly 16 million applications filed. Analysis by the Council of Economic Advisers finds that this level of record applications also reflects higher levels of new business formation that would lead to job growth – the highest in the last quarter century. Evidence suggests that supports from the Biden-Harris Administration helped shape the landscape for this small business boom. In addition, Black business ownership has grown at its fastest rate in over 30 years, and Hispanic business ownership is up nearly 40% compared to 2019. 

Allentown’s Comeback Story
Allentown’s factories once made iron products that reportedly went into the construction of West Point and the White House. But because of failed trickle-down economics, manufacturing left Allentown, and with it, good jobs — many of them unionized. Pennsylvania lost 23,000 manufacturing jobs under the previous Administration.

Thanks to Bidenomics, Allentown is finally making a comeback driven by local leaders, small business owners, and workers. Since President Biden took office, Allentown has experienced historic employment growth, small business creation, and investments. The Allentown unemployment rate is down to 3.9% — a 20-year low. A greater share of Allentown residents are employed today than before the pandemic. Nearly 32,000 more workers in the Allentown area have jobs under President Biden. Workers are taking home more pay as well, with personal income in Allentown up over 3% after adjusting for inflation compared to before the pandemic.

Companies are making new investments — including a $500 million investment by Pratt Industries in two sustainable corrugated packaging facilities and a $7.5 million investment by Schless Bottles in a bottle factory. Under President Biden, real investment in factory construction has increased by more than 100%, while increasing just 2% in the four years under his predecessor. These investments have a ripple effect — creating good-paying jobs, raising community incomes, and bringing more customers to small businesses in the region.

Investing in Pennsylvania
President Biden is keeping his promise to leave no community behind. The Biden-Harris Administration has announced $14.2 billion in public infrastructure and clean energy investments in Pennsylvania and spurred $3 billion in private sector investments in related sectors. Through his American Rescue Plan, President Biden provided emergency relief funding to 3,500 restaurants and bars and 6,850 child care programs in Pennsylvania to help keep their doors open during the pandemic, plus an additional $268 million through the State Small Business Credit Initiative to help them access capital. Last year, the Small Business Administration set records in loans delivered to small businesses, including nearly $910 million to small businesses in Pennsylvania, including significant increases in support to underserved and minority-owned businesses. And across the federal government, $2.8 billion in federal contracting opportunities went to Pennsylvania small businesses.

In the Allentown area alone:

  • The Department of Transportation awarded $5 million to the Lehigh Valley International Airport for needed renovations.
  • The Department of Transportation awarded $22.5 million to fix the Cementon Bridge and $2.8 million to fix the Indian Trail Road Bridge.
  • The Department of Energy awarded $3.75 million to the Mid-Atlantic Center of Excellence at Lehigh University, which will expand the center’s engagement with unions, trade schools, and community colleges, and develop new ways to build workforce pipelines to jobs at small manufacturers in the region.
  • The American Rescue Plan enabled Allentown to invest over $2.3 million in a new fire training facility and emergency operations center.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency awarded $1 million to the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission to help create a climate action plan focused on industrial decarbonization.
  • The Department of Transportation awarded $200,000 to the Lehigh Carbon Community College for scholarships for former and current military service members and families to pursue training to become commercial truck drivers.
  • The National Science Foundation awarded a $1 million Engines Development Award to Vytal Plant Science Research, which is partnering with the Northeast Ben Franklin Technology Partners to create an industrial bio-products hub in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
  • Over 17,000 households in Lehigh County now have access to affordable internet through the Affordable Connectivity Program and are saving up to $30/month.
  • The Department of Commerce designated Allentown a “Recompete area,” making it eligible to compete for an award of up to $50 million to support small manufacturers and workers in the region.

President Biden is keeping his promise and helping the hard-working people of Allentown, Pennsylvania, and communities across the country mount the economic comeback they deserve.

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Official news published at https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2024/01/12/fact-sheet-president-biden-highlights-allentown-lehigh-valley-and-pennsylvanias-economic-comeback/