"Some big businesses, big banks, wealthy households have done pretty well," he says. "But for a small business, a small bank, it still feels like a recession."
For many Americans, that's not hard to understand considering that the unemployment rate, which peaked at 10.1 percent in October 2009, was 9 percent last month. Home prices, which are how many people estimate their wealth, have fallen 30 percent since 2006, according to Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller index of 20 cities. And the nation's gross domestic product, a broad measure of its total output of goods and services, has had an average growth rate of 2.78 percent over the past seven quarters – much slower than after most recessions.
However, the recovery looks more robust if you have investments in the stock market.
Since its low in March 2009, the S&P 500 stock index has gone up 105 percent. In late April, the Dow Jones Industrial Average powered to a three-year high, up 98 percent.
"Corporate America, excluding the banks, came through the financial crisis in great shape in terms of their balance sheet," says Fred Dickson, chief investment strategist at D.A. Davidson & Co. in Lake Oswego, Ore. "They have enjoyed accelerating revenue and profit."