SIX months ago, when President Obama and I took office, we were confronted with an economic crisis unparalleled in our lifetime. The nation was hemorrhaging more than 700,000 jobs a month, the housing market was in free fall, and the fate of the financial system hung in the balance. Credible economists were handicapping the probability of a depression. The actions we took — passing the Recovery Act, stabilizing the banking system, pressing to get credit flowing again and helping responsible homeowners — brought us back from the precipice. Monthly job losses are down, financial markets are improved, and economic contraction has slowed. We still have a long way to go, but clearly we are closer to recovery today than we were in January. The Recovery Act has been critical to that progress.