The nation's economy has continued to shrink since President Obama took office. But the rate of decline has been less severe and there are signs the 18-month old recession is winding down.
Gross domestic product, the broadest measure of economic activity, fell at an annual rate of 1% in the second quarter. That came after a 6.4% drop in the first quarter, which was the worst drop in GDP since the early 1980s.
Many economists believe the economy may register modest growth in the current quarter. "There's no doubt that the speed of the decline has slowed," said Bernard Baumohl, chief global economist at the Economic Outlook Group. "I think the recession is history."
The stock market has rallied since Obama took office, with the Dow Jones industrial average up nearly 17% since Inauguration Day.
After last year's historic declines, investors have been wading back into the market as the economy has shown some signs of stabilization. Still, the blue-chip average is 35% below the highs of November 2007.
Since the administration took office in January, the economy has lost a total of 3.38 million jobs. The unemployment rate, which stood at 7.6% when Obama was inaugurated, has risen to 9.5% as of June.
"Employment is going to continue to be weak for the next few quarters," said Ed Friedman of Moody's Economy.com. "The unemployment rate is going to peak above 10% around the end of the year."
The deficit grew by $776.51 billion from January to June, and has already topped $1 trillion since the government's fiscal year started in October. The administration has said it expects the fiscal 2009 deficit to reach $1.75 trillion. That would be 12.3% of U.S. gross domestic product -- the highest since World War II.