Skip to content
Subscriber Only

Seven Years Into the U.S. Recovery and It's Finally Starting to Feel Good

Unemployment has fallen and wages are starting to pick up
Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton Holds Super Tuesday Night Rally
Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

June 2009 was the end of an era: the most painful downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s drew to a close, and economic healing got underway. The thing is, for many Americans, the past seven years haven't felt like a time of returning prosperity. 

That's starting to change. The U.S. recovery has been long by historical standards, since expansions in the post-war era have lasted only about 5 years on average since 1945. Even so, it is only now starting to lift wages, improve pricing power and boost consumer confidence. Here, in charts, is a rundown of how far the U.S. economy has come and why there's still farther to go. 

"We're making progress, we've had seven years now," Federal Reserve Governor Jerome Powell said during a question-and-answer session Tuesday night. "If we can make just a few more years of progress at this rate, where you're growing admittedly slow growth, but 2 percent inflation and labor market tightening it feels a lot better than it felt in 2012 and '13, and I want to keep that up."

The most marked economic improvement since the recession ended has come in the jobs market. Unemployment has more than halved and now stands at 4.7 percent, down from a high of 10 percent in 2009. About 268,000 people applied for unemployment insurance last week, down from 595,000 during the second week of June in 2009. Job openings have more than doubled.