Amid some promising signs -- which are turning the heads of even some bears -- structural unemployment continues to be painful as the ranks of the long-term jobless keep swelling. This is a distinction that should be far more central to government policy than it currently is.
If stocks are rising, many Wall Street gurus take it as evidence that the economy is improving. Yet even though the S&P 500 has soared 80% from its March 2009 lows, 70% of Americans don't believe the recession is over. Is Main Street's grasp on reality firmer than Wall Street's? Let's look at the data: