The most devastating recession since World War II has officially ended, according to the Department of Commerce. In a press release, the department says the “Real GDP increased 3.5 percent at an annual rate in the third quarter, after declining in five of the preceding six quarters. The gain marked the largest quarterly advance since the third quarter of 2007.”
Commerce Secretary Gary Locke says “the tough decisions this administration made to rescue the economy from the abyss were correct. We’re headed in the right direction, and even though there are still too many Americans out of work and still much work to be done, without the action taken in the early days of this administration, the pain families are feeling today would be much worse.”
Locke isn't the only one who feels there is still work to be done. According to the Los Angeles Times:
…today's preliminary report doesn't mean the economy is in good shape. Its expansion in the third quarter only partly offsets its dramatic 6% decline last fall and winter. A number of forecasters are predicting weaker expansion in the fourth quarter and in the early part of 2010.
Worst of all is unemployment, which reached a 26-year high of 9.8% last month, and is expected to remain high for the time being.
"It will take sustained, robust GDP growth to bring the unemployment rate down substantially," said Christina Romer, head of the White House Council of Economic Advisors. “Such a decline in unemployment is, of course, what we are all working to achieve."