Dan Altman over at NYT does a nice job explaining the weakness in the present economic recovery:
Recession Is Over; Jobs Aren’t Trickling Down
You can get the full National Bureau of Economic Research report of the Business Cycle Dating Committee (PDF) here.
Here’s the most important chart in the report:
(Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor)
The dark line shows the movement of employment from May 2000 to the present and the shaded line the average over the previous 6 recessions. Note that in all previous post recession periods, employment started up immediately at the end of the recession. In the present environment, the US economy continues to shed jobs despite the general economic improvements.