In spite of dramatic changes in the way the Fed, the Treasury, and government actions are working to stimulate the economy, 2009 will begin with several quarters of negative economic performance, rising unemployment, increasing corporate failures, and widespread signs of economic and social distress. Every indicator points to a continuation of the recession and the lack of many positive signs of recovery at least for the first six months of 2009. But, as the year proceeds, declines in the rate of erosion for many indicators of economic performance should generate improvements in consumer and investor confidence. For 2009, the economic outlook remains bleak, with economic growth expected to shrink 1.9%, its first annual decline since 1991. While the preponderance of economic and business news will be negative until the recovery is in full swing, the actions taken by the federal government and the Fed should improve the chances for a sustainable period of economic expansion starting this year.