All signs point to a jobless recovery

The job situation just refuses to right itself. New jobless claims didn't fall as much as expected last week, and the number of people receiving unemployment checks continued to climb. Though the "jobless recovery" notion has become pretty firmly implanted in the American consciousness, the pain associated with it isn't readily acknowledged, and flat incomes – thanks to a flimsy job market – will extend the agony.

At present, we're caught between economic phenomena and the realities of our personal situations. Most economists are ready to proclaim the recession over. Yet, companies aren't hiring yet. Jobless rates will continue to increase for the next year, and consumer spending consequently will remain under pressure. So, any signs of progress toward a turnaround will be small, requiring the height of optimism to notice.