As the economy slows down in a recession, the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) growth rates usually slow to 1-2% before turning negative. In 2008, the economy shrank 1.8% in the first quarter, grew 1.3% in the second quarter, fell again in the third quarter to 3.9% and then plummeted in the fourth quarter 8.9%, which would be the trough. This continued into 2009, when the economy dropped another 6.9% in the first quarter. The turning point, according to the NBER, was in the second quarter of 2009, when GDP contracted only .7%, and then turned positive growing 1.6% in the third quarter of 2009. The GDP growth rate continued to be positive through the rest of 2010 and 2011, and was 3% in the fourth quarter of 2011 (http://www.tradingeconomics.com/united-states/gdp-growth and http://useconomy.about.com/od/economicindicators/a/GDP-statistics.htm).
Unemployment, however, is considered a "lagging indicator," and still hasn't caught up with the expanding economy. It currently sits at 8.2% according to http://www.bls.gov/cps/. As a "lagging indicator" of the economy, it measures the effect of economic