By the end of President Obama’s first year in office, the economy, which had been in free fall when he took over from President Bush, was beginning to recover, mostly due to improvements resulting from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) signed into law by President Obama on February 17, 2009. (The ARRA is commonly referred to as the “stimulus package.”) To indicate the importance of the ARRA, the President asked Vice-President Joe Biden to oversee its implementation.
Metrics confirming that the economy was turning the corner in early 2010 were outlined in the Working Economics blog published by the Economics Policy Institute in February of 2012:
- “In the second quarter of 2009—the first full quarter after the stimulus was passed—GDP declined at a much slower pace (0.7 percent), and growth resumed in the third quarter;
- Job losses slowed dramatically throughout 2009 and the economy started adding jobs in early 2010; and
- Private sector layoffs, which had peaked in Feb. 2009, began a rapid decline and returned to pre-recession levels by early Feb. 2010.”
When 2009 came to an end, there were 2.1 million additional, sustainable jobs created by the President’s ARRA programs. While the main purpose of the ARRA was to stimulate job growth, the Law included initiatives to improve and support other areas affected by the recession, such as infrastructure, education, health, and renewable energy. The strong consensus of economists polled in 2012 by the University of Chicago Booth School of Business’s Initiative on Global Markets (IGM) was that the ARRA was successful in stimulating job growth.
President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act into law on February 17, 2009.