The American economy has suffered the deepest and most protracted recession since the Great Depression. The financial crisis that began in the fall of 2008 had enduring effects on economic performance. The economy looked bleakest in January 2009, when 741,000 jobs were lost in a single month. In the first quarter of 2009, real gross domestic product (real GDP) fell by 6.4 percent. Real GDP fell for four straight quarters, from third quarter 2008 through second quarter 2009.
The Joint Economic Committee has focused on exploring the causes of the Recession, and on examining the policies enacted by Congress to get the economy back on track.