By JON HILSENRATH And CONOR DOUGHERTY
Two years ago, officials said, the worst recession since the Great Depression ended. The stumbling recovery has also proven to be the worst since the economic disaster of the 1930s.
Across a wide range of measures—employment growth, unemployment levels, bank lending, economic output, income growth, home prices and household expectations for financial well-being—the economy's improvement since the recession's end in June 2009 has been the worst, or one of the worst, since the government started tracking these trends after World War II.
In some ways the recovery is much like the 1991 and 2001 post-recession periods: All three are marked by gradual output growth rather than sharp snap-backs typical of earlier recoveries. But this recovery may remain lackluster for years, many economists say, because of heavy household debt, a financial system still damaged by the mortgage crisis, fragile confidence and a government with few good options for supporting growth.