"By many accounts, the economic contraction that began in December 2007 is already, or is about to be, over. The increase in real gross domestic product (GDP) in the third quarter of 2009 lends support to that view. What may concern policymakers as much or even more, however, is the outlook for the unemployment rate. Even though the economy seems to be growing again, it may be a while before the unemployment rate begins to decline, and it may even continue rising for some time after the beginning of any expansion. The unemployment rate is generally a lagging indicator, meaning that its ups and downs happen some time after the ups and downs of other broad indicators of economic activity. Not only might the unemployment rate be slow to fall at the beginning of an economic expansion, its rate of decline, or whether it declines at all, is likely to depend on the rate of growth. It is possible for there to be above-zero real economic growth that is insufficient to prevent continued increases in the unemployment rate. This report examines the relationship between economic growth and the unemployment rate to anticipate possible future developments."
CRS Report for Congress, R40925
U.S. Dept. of State, Foreign Press Centers: http://www.fpc.state.gov/