The U.S. Chamber of Commerce predicts the nation's economy will remain weak for much of 2009.  In its annual outlook report, the business group says unemployment will soar above nine percent while the nation's gross domestic output will shrink another three percent.  

Despite the dour outlook, the national business organization says it is looking forward to working with the new Congress and new administration in the bid to turn the economy around. 

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce predicts the recession will hit its low point by the middle of 2009, barring a major economic shock.  

Until then, it says the country can expect to see more bankruptcies and higher unemployment.

Chamber President Thomas Donohue says these are difficult times. 

"We have two choices.  We can bemoan our fate and keep telling each other how bad things are.  Or we can get right down to the business of reviving this economy," he said. "Restoring growth and job creation and putting Americans back to work."

On Wednesday, the Chamber outlined its action plan. It includes expanding global trade, cutting taxes and pushing for quick passage of a "significant" economic stimulus package.

President-elect Barack Obama has asked Congress to approve a massive stimulus plan totaling close to $800 billion.  So far, the chamber likes what it sees.

"Based on the reports we have seen and the conversations we have had, the Chamber is very encouraged by the direction the president-elect is taking with his recovery package," Donohue said.

The federation typically advocates less government spending, but Donohue says extraordinary times demand extraordinary measures. 

"America has always been a can-do nation with an unmatched capacity to tackle the big problems," he said.  "The Chamber wants to do its part to help rekindle this can-do spirit in 2009 and get this country moving again."

With more than three million members, the Chamber is one of the most influential business groups in the United States.