some have been out of work for a long time - and the recovery is excruciatingly slow. As Catherine Rampell notes:
Getting the economy to 5 percent unemployment within two years — a return to the rate that prevailed when the recession began — would require job growth of closer to 280,000 per month.Calculated Risk provides a useful graph of the employment-population ratio for persons aged 25-54 (as a way of taking out the effect of demographic changes), which illustrates how far the labor market has to go:
Last week's GDP release was also consistent with the picture of a slightly improving but still way-too-slowly growing economy. The BEA's advance estimate put third-quarter real GDP growth at a 2% annual rate, which is mediocre, but better than the 1.3% in the second quarter.
commented on the report at Econbrowser.
However, historically speaking, downturns caused by financial crises are larger and more persistent than typical recessions. Moritz Schularick and Alan Taylor and Carmen Reinhardt and Kenneth Rogoff both argue that the US is actually doing a little better than might be expected based on evidence from the aftermaths of past financial crises. That is a useful perspective, particularly for evaluating economic policy (as one might right before an election..). Arguably, US economic policy has been moderately successful if you