Recession over, jobs still elusive

Labor Day 2011 dawns on a job market that is barely hobbling forward. More than 6 million of the 14 million jobless Americans have been seeking work for more than a half-year. And about 6.5 million more aren’t even counted as unemployed because they have given up the search.

We used to come roaring out of recessions. Yet here we are, the job-making machinery still sputtering two years after the economy stopped contracting and the Great Recession officially ended.

But progress is so slow that for many it’s invisible.

“I know the recession is over, but it still looks like a recession to me,” said labor economist Barry Hirsch of the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University.

It used to be that two years after a recession was a time of consumer hope, corporate optimism, surging growth, rapid hiring and rising wages. But recessions now seem to end with a whimper, not a bang of hiring.

In Sunday's newspaper, the AJC takes a close look at how this jobless recovery compares with recessions of the past. It's a story you'll get only by picking up a copy of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution or logging on to the paper's iPad app . Subscribe today .

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