The second term Obama administration is taking office facing challenging economic conditions. The economy continues to expand, yet the pace is disappointingly slow. The unemployment rate has fallen below 8 percent for the first time in almost 4 years, but is still unacceptably high. The economic expansion remains fragile and vulnerable to risks associated with financial strains in Europe and a confluence of expiring policies known as the fiscal cliff. And U.S. government debt is now at its highest level since the World War II period. The Economic Studies program at Brookings remains focused on how to create conditions that aid the immediate recovery and foster longer-term economic growth. Links to some of our research by subject area can be found below: