MEDIA RELEASE: Recovery Act Helped Avert Depression, Kept 200,000 North Carolinians Out of Poverty

 New Report: Recovery Act Helped Avert Depression, Kept More Than 200,000 North Carolinians Out of Poverty

RALEIGH (Sep. 20, 2010) – Without the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, 206,000 more North Carolinians would be in poverty – and the rest of the country might have faced another Great Depression, a new report says.


“Newly available data and analysis shows that federal policymakers’ actions minimized the impact of the recession on workers and the broader economy,” said Alexandra Forter Sirota, a policy analyst the NC Budget & Tax Center and author of the report.


Drawing on recently-released economic data, Sirota's report shows that measures of economic health ranging from jobs to Gross Domestic Product are far better off now because of the Recovery Act.


“Compared to the recessions of the past twenty years, the Great Recession has been the most severe,” she said. “But the loss of jobs would have been even worse without timely public investments.”


For example, a recent Congressional Budget Office model found that the impact of the Recovery Act in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is now 1.5 percent to 4.0 percent higher than it would have been without the Recovery Act. The unemployment rate in 2010 will be 0.7 to 1.8 percentage points lower than it would have been, and payroll employment will be between 1.3 million and 3.3 million jobs greater than it would have been.


Early estimates by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities also suggested that key provisions of the Recovery Act kept 6 million Americans out of poverty.


For North Carolinians, data shows that 206,000 North Carolinians were kept out of poverty and a million North Carolinians were protected from more economic hardship.


Data released last week by the U.S. Census Bureau provide additional evidence that the Recovery Act and its improvements to the nation's safety net reduced significantly the number of people in poverty. Unemployment benefits kept 3.3 million people out of poverty while the elder poverty rate reached a historic low due to the support of the Social Security system.


“All the data show that we need more, not less public investment,” said Sirota. “Policymakers shouldn't retreat until the job is done.”


The report is available online at:


FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Alexandra Forter Sirota, 919.861.1468,; Jeff Shaw, director of communications, 503.551.3615,