The 97-lb. Recovery

America's rebound is slow, spotty and anemic. Can the economy get back to fighting weight?

R. Kikuo Johnson for TIME

Americas rebound is slow, spotty and anemic. Can the economy get back to fighting weight?

Remember the recovery? It officially began way back in the middle of 2009, 18 months after the financial system--and then everything else in the American economy--fell apart. Given that nobody has gotten much of a raise since then and that unemployment is still above 8%, you'd be forgiven for not noticing that there's been a rebound--until, maybe, now.

In the past few weeks, signs of economic expansion have been everywhere. Factory managers' purchasing orders, one of the most closely watched economic indicators, reached a bullish six-month high in January. Weekly out-of-work claims have fallen to four-year lows; the stock markets (led...

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