U.S. Economy Stronger Since Obama's First State of the Union

State of the UnionWASHINGTON (AP) - As President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union speech Tuesday night, he presides over an economy much healthier than the one he inherited four years ago. Yet growth remains slow and unemployment high.

In early 2009, the U.S. economy was in the midst of a full-blown panic sparked by the collapse of a housing bubble. Companies were slashing jobs. The unemployment rate was surging. Auto sales in January 2009 had reached a 26-year low.

"You don't need to hear another list of statistics to know that our economy is in crisis," Obama said in his first State of the Union address in February 2009.

The numbers were frightening.

State of the Union, Then and Now

Jan. 2009

Jan. 2012

Jan. 2013
Unemployment rate 7.8 pct. 8.3 pct. 7.9 pct.
Jobs added or lost in month -794,000 +311,00 +157,000
Income, annual growth 2.4 pct. 1.3 pct. 1.5 pct.
Inflation, annual rate -0.1 pct. +2.9 pct. +1.7 pct.
Dow Jones industrial average 7,350.94 12,397.38 13,992.97
Average price, gallon of gas $1.91 $3.49 $3.59
Home prices, year-over-year change -19 pct. -3.9 pct. +5.5 pct.
Auto sales (annual rate) 9.6 million 14.2 million 15.3 million


Employers cut 794,000 jobs in January 2009 and 4.5 million from November 2008 through April 2009.

Home prices plunged 19 percent in the 12 months that ended in January 2009. Eventually, they fell by a third overall before bottoming in late 2011.

Perhaps the clearest barometer of the pain was soaring unemployment. The unemployment rate was 7.8 percent in January 2009, just below the current 7.9 percent. But only two months later, in March 2009, it was nearly a full point higher - 8.7 percent. By October, it had peaked at 10 percent.

The recovery has been agonizingly slow. Consumers have been wary about spending after piling up debt in the mid-2000s. Local governments, squeezed by tight budgets, have cut 560,000 jobs in four years. And until recently, an anemic housing market discouraged the home construction that in past economic recoveries had powered growth.

Now, companies are hiring modestly but steadily. Employers added an average of 181,000 jobs a month in 2012 and 175,000 in 2011. Still, unemployment remains far higher than the 5 percent to 6 percent that economists regard as normal.

But home prices are finally rebounding as sales and housing starts have recovered. And Americans are buying cars again.

"During the last four years, the economy has stabilized," says economist Sung Won Sohn of California State University Channel Islands.

What has happened to the economy since 2009 likely would have happened whoever occupied the White House, Sohn says.

"We tend to give a lot of credit or blame (for the economy) to the incumbent president," he says. "The fact of the matter is, the U.S. economy is like an aircraft carrier. You can turn it around but not on a dime."

Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Socially Responsible Investing

Invest in companies with a conscience.

View Course »

Understanding Credit Scores

Credit scores matter -- learn how to improve your score.

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum

31 Comments

Filter by:
vlady1000

All depends on which sector you are in. In our industry (large commercial constructon. non-gov projects mostly), it is as bad as ever. And the next 12 months look ahead, just as bad. Not sure how much longer we can survive.

February 12 2013 at 10:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Robert & Lisa

Under Obama our debt has increased dramatically and our standard of living has fallen by 40%. The rich are getting richer faster and the poor are growing poorer faster than ever. That is a better economy? In whose book?

February 12 2013 at 10:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
obamaisafiasco

chris1011
It seems the supply of republican whiners is endless.

========================
Gosh Chris, you just can't stop posting, as you so eloquently call them your snide, petty and unproductive comments. When do you find time to run that uh umm pretend business of yours?

February 12 2013 at 6:55 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
scottee

the economy cannot be stronger....
as long as we are a country based on lies and debt.

February 12 2013 at 6:42 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
obamaisafiasco

badbadevan
Cute

============================================
Somayahoo can't post with his Somey screen name. Awww how sad. LOL

February 12 2013 at 5:58 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
obamaisafiasco

chris1011
Ranking of US Presidents: (source: "238 Presidential Scholars Rank The Presidents")

#13 BillClinton
#15 BarackObama

#18 SaintRonnie

#39 GeorgeBush

KAABOOOOMMM!!!.......there went the baggers' heads.

=======================

Wow Chris is batting a 1000 today. If he got paid 1$ for all the snide, petty, unproductive comments, as Chris calls them he could give up his welfare check for a year. .

February 12 2013 at 5:56 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
chris1011

Ranking of US Presidents: (source: "238 Presidential Scholars Rank The Presidents")

#13 BillClinton
#15 BarackObama

#18 SaintRonnie

#39 GeorgeBush

KAABOOOOMMM!!!.......there went the baggers' heads.

February 12 2013 at 5:40 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to chris1011's comment
chris1011

( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

February 12 2013 at 5:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to chris1011's comment
obamaisafiasco

teapotparty11
YOU WANTED LESS GOVERNMENT, YOU GOT IT, WE DON'T DO ANYTHING, BUT YOU GOTTA PAY FOR IT!!!! TEA PARTY WILL REPLACE THE GOP AS THE FACE OF THE CONSERVATIVE MOVEMENT!!!!


=========================================================

It's the democrat led Senate that hasn't done anything for years. You know you really should consider scrapping that screen name and post using one of your other 60 or so Obamabot screen names.

February 12 2013 at 3:23 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
obamaisafiasco

teapotparty11
YEP I SAW PRESIDENT OBAMA OUT CHANGING THE GAS PRICE YESTERDAY...BUMPED IT UP TO $3.89 HERE!!!! IMPEACH OBAMA FOR HIGH GAS PRICES!!!! VOTE ALL TEA PARTY IN 2014 AND GAS PRICES WILL TUMBLE!!!!

================================================================

That's what you liberals wanted to do to Bush when gas prices where high. lLiberals whined about gas prices all the time. You really should get rid of that screen anme and post in one of your other Obamabot screen names. That one just isn't cutting it.

February 12 2013 at 3:20 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
obamaisafiasco

rickperryoops
Fantasy Land? That is where we republicans get our facts from............HEE.............HAW!!!!!!!!!!!!

===========================================================

And most definitley where you get your facts from except it's called Obamabot fantasyland.

February 12 2013 at 3:18 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply