If you want to see a good overview of where the economy really is and where it's probably going, I strongly recommend reading this post by John Fernald, VP of the SF Fed.
The current recession is longer than any recession since 1933 and, in terms of GDP, is as deep as any in the post-war period. Yet the forecast for recovery is anemic compared with historical experience. The relative weakness reflects in part continuing tight credit conditions for households and businesses as financial institutions and markets slowly heal. At the same time, as noted earlier, consumer spending is likely to remain relatively weak. In the forecast, it takes 11 quarters, until the third quarter of 2010, just to get GDP back to its pre-recession level.
The post has an excellent series of graphs (don't forget the scroll bar), along with bullet point summaries, which are almost identical in focus and message and conclusion to many of the posts here.
I'll note this graph:
to validate what Calculated Risk has been concluding for some time.
He also notes a major risk to the overall outlook is the unemployment rate. Something we also have been mentioning that is so high it could pull down any recovery (in terms of GDP, that being consumption).