Today, that argument is settled. The Recovery Act did what we asked of it. Three million jobs were created or saved. Essential investments in keeping teachers on the job, building a domestic clean-energy industry and repairing our roads and bridges have helped to foster the economic growth that we are now starting to see. The President is building an economy meant to last, and the Recovery Act is part of the foundation.
It’s easy to forget how grave our problems were in February 2009. We had inherited an economy in free fall. Our own economists told us a depression was all but inevitable unless we took bold and immediate steps. Our country lost 3.5 million jobs in the six months before the President and I took office. We lost another 4 million before policies like the Recovery Act took effect.
Today, we have had 23 straight months of private sector growth. Businesses have added 3.7 million new jobs. And thanks to the tough choice the President and I made to stand with the auto workers at General Motors and Chrysler, the American auto industry is back. The industry went from losing 400,000 jobs in the year before we took office to creating nearly 190,000 jobs since GM and Chrysler emerged from bankruptcy, and GM is once again the world’s top-selling auto company.
The investments we made in the Recovery Act have helped to spark whole new industries. As a result of our investments in the advanced battery industry, the United States is on track to go from producing less than 2 percent of the world’s advanced batteries in 2009 to having 40 percent of the production capacity by 2015.
Today, companies are not just expanding their U.S. operations – some are actually moving production from countries like China and Mexico back to American shores. And many more middle-class families see a much brighter future than the bleak horizon they faced when we arrived at the White House.