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

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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."

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45 Comments

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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
mrspelosi

somey5
mrspelosi

I believe you are mistaken dear. It was President Obama who claimed that he was baked, as you call, it during his highschool years darling. Oh my, how shameful. We liberals struggle with controlling our bad behavior.
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Oh god, mrspelosi, what kind of looney raving is this??? You're totally off the handle please please that your meds.

__________________________________________

I would ask for some of yours darling but it appears that you have been out of your meds for quite some time dear.

February 12 2013 at 7:28 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
mrspelosi

somey5
Another rinky-dink comment by mrspelosi.

_______________________________

President Obama will give us enough of his rinky dink comments tonight, in his state of the union address to last a life time dear.

February 12 2013 at 7:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mrspelosi

somey5
Another rinky-dink comment by mrspelosi
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Darling there is no need for me to post rinky dink comments when there are so many of your own here that you can share dearest.

February 12 2013 at 7:22 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
mrspelosi

somey5
All that toxic right wing tea that you drink, has burnt out your brains and now you just can't think anymore.

_________________________________

I wish I could post the same thing about you dear, but you first have to have one to burn out darling. How unfortunate for you.

February 12 2013 at 7:13 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
mrspelosi

somey5
You are wacky

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Darling I think if you went around and asked, most people would agree with you dear.

February 12 2013 at 7:08 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
obamaisafiasco

chris1011
It seems the supply of republican whiners is endless.

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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
mrspelosi

somey5
chris1011

It seems the supply of republican whiners is endless.
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You've got that right

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

You both have that wrong dears. You are both democrats and whine on here more than anyone I know darlings. How unfortunate for you.

February 12 2013 at 6:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to mrspelosi's comment
obamaisafiasco

Chris and Someyahoo otherwise known as the whining duet. LOL

February 12 2013 at 6:56 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
mrspelosi

somey5
Same old repetitious comment.

___________________________

I know what you mean dear. If you need some help coming up with some new things to post I will gladly assist you darling. You can thank me later doll.

February 12 2013 at 6:47 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to mrspelosi's comment
obamaisafiasco

LOL

February 12 2013 at 6:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply