By Logan Langlois

NASHVILLE, TN — President Joe Biden has released his economic plan for Tennessee, as well as a recap of accomplishments made by his administration since taking office in 2020. These accomplishments include a shrinking unemployment rate, 206,000 new jobs, and 179,004 new business filings in Tennessee since December 2020, with bigger plans for the state scheduled further this year. 

When President Biden was sworn into office two years ago, the unemployment rate was 6.3 percent, 9 million people were out of work, and hundreds of thousands of small businesses were closing their doors. Today, the Biden administration says the country is on a path of stable long-term growth with an unemployment rate hitting its 50-year low at 3.5 percent. The administration credits these improvements to the passing of bills such as the American Rescue Plan, Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, CHIPS and Science Act, and Inflation Reduction Act, which they claim strengthen supply chains and revitalize nationwide manufacturing.

The current administration also aims to make Tennessee a more attractive location for out-of-state companies to invest in and expand. Evidence of this effort can be seen in out-of-state companies investing a sum of $15 billion into Tennessee since 2021. These investments were made to expand upon industries such as electric vehicle and battery manufacturing, which were made possible through Biden’s launching of the American Battery Material Initiative in October 2022 securing a reliable supply of minerals and materials.

Additionally, $5.5 billion of funding has been announced for state projects across Tennessee. These projects include $2.8 billion for better transportation such as roads, bridges, public transit, and airports as well as $1.5 billion in water infrastructure and additional infrastructure funding which provides nearly 300,000 households with more affordable internet service.

Nashville funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will go toward rebuilding a central taxiway for airplane runways at Nashville International Airport. One hundred million dollars of American Rescue Plan investments have gone toward affordable housing and reducing Nashville homelessness. Additionally, $10 million has gone to Fisk University’s new entrepreneurship and innovation center named after the recently passed local Black hero Darrell S. Freeman Sr. The River to Ridge Mobility Project in Chattanooga will receive funding in order to replace the Wilcox Bridge with a multi-use path, and the Memphis Area Transit Authority has received funding through Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to build a new operations and maintenance facility designed to improve the safety and quality of Memphis’s bus fleet. 

Investment plans from private institutions include:

• LG Chem investing $3.2 billion to develop a materials plant in Clarksville, creating 850 jobs. 

• A $5.6 billion joint venture by Ford and SK Innovation to build a “mega campus” in Stanton bringing 6,000 jobs to Tennessee.

• Ultium Cells investing $2.6 billion in building a manufacturing plant in Spring Hill by late 2023, creating 1,300 jobs.

• Piedmont Lithium investing nearly $600 million in a separation and processing facility in McMinn County.

• Tritium’s opening of its first U.S. manufacturing facility in Lebanon, is projected to produce more than 500 jobs over five years. 

• Novonix’s $1 billion battery materials separation & processing facility in Chattanooga, producing over 1,000 jobs and hopes to help break America’s dependency on Chinese supply chains.

The state’s healthcare system has also received assistance, with around 120,000 Tennesseans enrolling in the 2022 Affordable Care Act coverage as of December 2022, many of whom also selected a plan for 2023 coverage during the Open Enrollment Period. Legislation and subsidies have also resulted in lower drug costs for seniors on Medicare.