Thanks in part to the Recovery Act, Massachusetts is emerging from the recession faster and stronger than any other state.
One year ago we published the first Citizens' Update to report the early effects of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) here in Massachusetts. We have come a long way. Over the past year, we have invested billions of dollars from the Recovery Act to maintain essential services to our most vulnerable citizens, we have made strategic decisions to expand and upgrade our infrastructure, and despite tough decisions, we have managed to provide a paycheck for over 46,600 people.
Through the Recovery Act and other key programs, this administration has invested in education, in health care and in job creation, because we all know that educating our children, having health care you can depend on, and a steady job is the path to a better future.
That choice is why today we lead the nation in student achievement and lead the nation in health care coverage for our residents. That is why we have created almost 40,000 jobs this year alone, giving Massachusetts the fourth highest rate of job creation in the nation and an unemployment rate-which in September had the largest single-month decrease since 1976-well below the national average. That is why today the Massachusetts economy is growing at twice the national growth rate and climbing out of recession faster and stronger than any other state in the Nation.
You may have heard that we recently won the national Race to the Top competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education-achieving the highest score of any other state-bringing $250 million in Recovery Act funds to continue Massachusetts' leadership in education innovation and reform.
Not only have we invested in our infrastructure by putting construction workers back on the job, we have also invested in our workers by funding job training programs across the state. These programs have provided services for over 3 million beneficiaries across Massachusetts from Pittsfield to Plymouth.
This Citizens' Update highlights the projects and programs the Recovery Act has funded over the past 18 months. From roads and bridges to health centers and hospitals, from police officers and firefighters to construction workers and teachers, ARRA has had a real impact on real people. And while the work continues, we should pause and acknowledge our progress in making decisions that will deliver economic benefits to the Commonwealth now and in the future.
We have more work to do. These successes are merely numbers on a page to those who are still unemployed. That is why we will continue investing in people-their jobs, education, health care, and safety. Because we still have a ways to go. We have more people to put to work, more families to lift up and more opportunities to create. That is why I am focused on these goals, and that is why I will keep fighting for the people of Massachusetts until everyone is back to work.