President Obama in his last press conference of the year listed a number of achievements over the last year and laid out the work ahead for 2014 accordingly:
Businesses created another 2 million jobs, adding up to more than 8 million in just over the past 45 months.
Strongest pace in economic growth in nearly two years.
Lowest unemployment rate in five years.
Fairer tax code.
Stronger fiscal situation – deficits now less than half of what they were before he assumed office.
Highest domestic production of oil in nearly two decades.
Slowest growth rate in healthcare costs in 50 years due to the Affordable Care Act.
Increasing enrollment through healthcare.gov.
“And you add that all up and what it means is we head into next year with an economy that’s stronger than it was when we started the year,” he said. “More Americans are finding work and experiencing the pride of a paycheck. Our businesses are positioned for new growth and new jobs.”
“I firmly believe that 2014 can be a breakthrough year for America,” President Obama said, offering some proof that the new year is already off to a good start: this week, for the first time in several years, both parties in both houses of Congress came together to pass a budget. And there are other areas where we can work together, he said, beginning with restoring the temporary unemployment insurance that helps people make ends meet when they are looking for a job.
“Because Congress didn’t act, more than one million of their constituents will lose a vital economic lifeline at Christmastime, leaving a lot of job-seekers without any source of income at all,” he said. “I know a bipartisan group is working on a three-month extension of this insurance. They should pass it, and I’ll sign it right away.”
“I think 2014 needs to be a year of action,” President Obama said.
“We’ve got work to do to create more good jobs, to help more Americans earn the skills and education they need to do those jobs and to make sure that those jobs offer the wages and benefits that let families build a little bit of financial security. We still have the task of finishing the fix on our broken immigration system. We’ve got to build on the progress we’ve painstakingly made over these last five years with respect to our economy and offer the middle class and all those who are looking to join the middle class a better opportunity, and that’s going to be where I focus all of my efforts in the year ahead.”