Financially, 2008 was one of the most eventful and troubling periods in our nation’s history. Continuing problems in the housing market and the failures of several large financial institutions caused the sudden evaporation of confidence in the financial system as we entered the fourth quarter. Unemployment continued to rise, reaching 7.2% in December, the highest level in 16 years, with further increases expected. With the official declaration that the recession began in December 2007, speculation now turns to the likely length of the downturn and the factors that will bring the economy back onto a growth path. Based on previous recessions of this magnitude, recovery will likely be prolonged as governments focus on thawing credit markets and developing plans for large infrastructure projects and tax cuts, with the goal of adding new jobs to support sustainable economic growth.