New York (CNNMoney.com) - The past two years of recession have been "difficult," but "the storm is receding," President Obama said in a speech to private-sector business leaders Tuesday.
At the annual meeting of the Business Council, comprised of 150 executives from private businesses, Obama said the recession was "not just an economic problem - it's a human tragedy."
The president touched on several major topics throughout the 35-minute speech, including the labor market, education, health care reform and financial reform.
"Last year the economy was in freefall," Obama said. "Now it's growing again. In fact, we've seen the fastest turnaround in growth in nearly three decades."
Obama said his administration "has a relentless focus" on recovery, and that "spurring job creation and economic expansion continues to be our No. 1 priority."
He emphasized the importance of business leaders seeking common ground. Obama also said he was "pleased" Republican legislators dropped a filibuster on debate of Wall Street reform, which he considers "a reasonable, non-ideological approach to target root problems in our financial sector."