September 15, 2008 -- a day that rocked the American economy to its core after Lehman Brothers, then one of the nation’s largest investment banks, filed for bankruptcy. The largest filing in history, Lehman Brothers’ bankruptcy sent shockwaves through the global markets and left families and businesses reeling.
In the months before the President took office, Americans watched as the private-sector cut 800,000 jobs a month, the housing market cratered, and the American auto industry threatened to collapse. That economic turmoil -- the severity of the challenges we faced in 2008 -- stand in stark contrast to where we are now, six years after the Great Recession. Now, thanks to American workers and businessmen and women, our economy has added 10 million jobs and is growing stronger by almost every economic measure.
While there is more work to do to keep our economy moving forward, take a look back with White House Administration officials who shared the critical moment and key decisions the President made in three different areas of the economy to get us to where we are today. Then slide across the charts to see how far we’ve come in the last six years.
"The Epicenter of That Crisis": The Housing Market
The collapse of the housing market sparked the Great Recession, driving down home prices, halting construction on new homes, and forcing millions of families into foreclosure.
Listen as Shaun Donovan, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, describe how they created “most comprehensive, aggressive housing strategy that the country has ever seen” within the first few weeks of the Obama administration. There’s much more work to do but now, home prices are rising at a fast pace and homebuilders are breaking ground on 50,000 more homes each month than they were in 2009.
"The People Who Took the Biggest Hit": American Consumers
The economic volatility of the Great Recession hit consumers especially hard and, with a dearth of key consumer protections, Americans were forced to spend much more conservatively.
Listen to Amy Brundage, Deputy Director of Communications, explain how President Obama created the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau – an independent agency to help protect consumers when they’re applying for a mortgage, choosing among credit cards, or using any other consumer financial product. Now, as the economy continues to grow stronger, American consumers are confidently spending $170 billion more each month than they were when the President took office.
"What Needed to Be Done": American Businesses
During the recession, the amount of American exports that our companies sold abroad fell by billions.
Last year, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker reflected on how President Obama sought to restore confidence in the markets and stabilize the economy. Listen to her explain how the Obama Administration is focusing on expanding trade and increasing how much businesses sell in the global market. Now, under President Obama, our businesses are selling $70 billion more overseas each month than they were during the Great Recession.
There is more to do to ensure our economy continues to grow. That is why President Obama is taking action to invest in manufacturing, energy, and infrastructure and to improve the financial security of working families and the middle class. Learn more about what the President is doing this year here: obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/year-of-action.
You can listen to other Administration officials reflect on the financial crisis here.