From Grog's Gamut, an Ozzie political blog, I got these two interesting charts. He in turn got them here.
The chart shows the percentage change in employment (so comparisons over long periods are possible, even though the US population has tripled over sixty years) with the deepest point of the downturn shown as month zero. This is the worst post WWII downturn, without any question. But we already knew that. What is scary is that the gap between the experience this cycle and most previous cycles is widening. Yes, employment is rising, but at the rate typical of a moderate downturn not the severe one we had. And of course, that's because the US has far, far too much debt, which in turn means that housing, which typically rebounds sharply during the recovery, hasn't this time.
Disclaimer. After nearly 40 years managing money for some of the largest life offices and investment managers in the world, I think I have something to offer. But I can't by law give you advice, and I do make mistakes. Remember: the unexpected sometimes happens. Oddly enough, the expected does too, but all too often it takes longer than you thought it would, or on the other hand happens more quickly than you expected. The Goddess of Markets punishes (eventually) greed, folly, laziness and arrogance. No matter how many years you've served Her. Take care. Be humble. And don't blame me.
BTW, clicking on most charts will produce the original-sized, i.e., bigger version.