Indeed, by another, more straightforward measure of employment, the recovery looks particularly dim. The employment-population ratio—the percentage of working-age Americans with jobs—has barely budged throughout the recovery. Currently, 58.6 percent of people 16 and over are employed. That's up only 0.1 percentage points since October 2009, when the jobless rate hit a high of 10 percent. In better times, like the late 1990s, that rate was well above 64 percent.
Danielle Kurtzleben is a business and economics reporter for U.S. News & World Report. Connect with her on Twitter at @titonka or via E-mail at email@example.com.