I like statistics that can't be fudged by the government and this is one of them: The Civilian Employment-Population Ratio. This measure is one of the best to evaluate the labor market. Each time when this ratio declines, we enter a recession. So this is a very good gauge in predicting bad periods in the overall economy.
A high ratio (above 70%) means that a lot of people are employed and this will result in a high GDP per capita. A low ratio (under 50%) is considered bad for GDP.
If we take a look at the percentage change per annum, we see that the trend for the real GDP per capita growth rate is down (blue chart). So real GDP isn't improving and this translates into a declining employment-population ratio (red chart).
As Karl Denninger explains, the amount of employed people as a percentage of the population hasn't improved since 2008. So the economy hasn't recovered a lot.