For many in the United States, the two years since the end of the recession have been worse than the downturn itself.
Among those Americans with only a high school diploma who have lost a job since 2007, a third became unemployed after the official end of the recession, according to The Washington Post.
It's a troubling statistic in its own right -- job seekers without a college degree are having serious difficulty finding work in the current market, and the unemployment rate for high school graduates is more than twice that of college grads -- but it also underscores the fact that, for many Americans, the recovery hasn't felt very different from the recession that preceded it.
Economists consider the Great Recession to have ended in the summer of 2009, nearly three years ago. That's the point when the economy stopped outright shrinking and began growing again. But the subsequent period of modest expansion has been marked by job cuts, uncertainty and a gradual erosion of financial security for many Americans. These conditions are expected to remain pronounced for a long time to come.
U.S. employers cut 529,973 jobs in 2010, according to the outplacement company Challenger, Gray & Christmas. In 2011, that number rose to 606,082. At the same time, wages and benefits barely grew, with the high jobless rate giving employers little incentive to pay workers more. Today, there are still nearly 13 million Americans looking for work.
It's not that life has gotten much better for those with a job either. All together, median household incomes have now fallen more in the recovery than they did during the recession.
People without a college degree are having a particularly difficult time finding work, but they're not the only demographic hard hit by the crisis. The unemployment rate among very recent college graduates is well above the national average. While Baby Boomers account for a huge percentage of the long-term unemployed. And African-Americans have a jobless rate of 13.6 percent -- more than five percentage points above the national level.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this post mistakenly referred to a high school graduation certificate as a degree.