There's lots to lament in the recovery. It hasn't been fast enough, or broad enough. But here's some very good news: it's speeding up.
So far, we have jobs data for nine months in 2014. The economy added more than 200,000 jobs in seven of them. That's pretty impressive jobs growth — it's not enough to wipe out the losses of 2008 and 2009, of course, but it's the kind of growth that will, if given time, bring about a recovery. It's the kind of growth economists wish we had had starting in 2010.
The question is how long it'll last. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, the recession ended — and the expansion began — in June 2009. That means the economy has been growing for more than 60 months straight. As Jared Bernstein notes, the average post-World War II expansion ran for 58 months. This isn't the longest expansion on record — that would be the 120 months of straight economic growth that followed the 1991 recession — but it's longer than normal, and it's actually picking up steam.
Democrats are frustrated because this is the kind of good economic news the country has been waiting years for, but it's not getting all that much coverage, and it's certainly not dominating the midterm elections. Weirdly enough, that's probably, as my colleague Matthew Yglesias notes, a sign that the economy really is getting better. Back when the situation was more dire both Washington and the public were more focused on it. Now that it's improving, the improvement is, somewhat ironically, reducing focus on the problem.
It's also hard for Democrats to build a message around the recent acceleration of the recovery. After all, their legislative agenda has been mostly stymied since 2012, and celebrating the results of gridlock isn't exactly on-brand for their 2014 campaigns.