What is particularly concerning though it is the comparison of this recession and recovery with previous ones. Calculated Risk provides a chart.
Washington's Blog notes that the numbers for this recession are actually worse that the Great Depression.
The commonly-accepted unemployment figures for the Great Depression are overstated. Specifically, government workers were counted as unemployed by Stanley Lebergott (the BLS economist who put together the most widely used numbers) ... even though gainfully employed and receiving a pay check...
When the figures are adjusted this recession and recovery is far more serious than it is being made out to be in Washington. Paul Krugman warns that the US is facing a repeat of the double-dip of the Great Depression, when stimulus was removed prematurely in 1937. It took WWII for the US to recover fully — after two decades of underperformance.
With housing double-dipping and the ISM manufacturing index rolling over, things are not looking up. Meanwhile, politicians and pundits are occupied with the pseudo-problem of the deficit and debt and talking austerity as the remedy.
UPDATE: Michael Perelman thinks that a double-dip scenario is overly optimistic. He sees deeper problems resulting in long term malaise until fundamental problems are addressed.