Axios’ Felix Salmon and Courtenay Brown write: Biden’s economic teamfaces a daunting task helping the millions of Americans who have lost their jobs or have otherwise been financially ravaged by the coronavirus.
- But most of them have first-hand crisis experience, dating back to when Barack Obama inherited a crumbling economy when he took office in 2009.
Why it matters: Most of Biden’s economic nominees served in the Obama administration, and wish that they could have gone bigger to help America recover from the 2008 financial crisis. But it’s not going to be easy for them to push through massive fiscal spending in 2021.
By the numbers:
- Employment is much worse than during the Great Recession. The total number of jobs in America is still more than 10 million below its peak, even after a significant rebound.
- The unemployment rate is currently 6.9% — better than the 7.8% that Biden inherited when he took office as vice president in January 2009, and much better than the 9.9% level that it hit later that year. That’s partly because millions of jobless Americans, including many parents forced to stay home to help school their kids, aren’t counted as unemployed because they’re not actively looking for work.
- GDP is about 3.5% below its peak, roughly the same as in the first quarter of 2009.
Flashback: “Anyone who was involved from Treasury, from Fed, in the financial world, will tell you that the U.S. economy needed more of a boost for longer than it got” back then, former Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, who also served as the head of the Office of Management and Budget under Obama, tells Axios.
- “If you look through [Biden’s] team … I don’t know anyone who doesn’t agree with that.”