On Wednesday the Federal Reserve felt confident enough to begin slowly withdrawing the huge economic stimulus the central bank has been pumping into the economy.
Unemployment is the lowest in five years. Economic growth picked up recently. The housing sector -- which got us into this mess in the first place -- is bouncing back. Home sales, prices and construction are all on the rise.
For many Americans, all the good news in the larger economy isn't translating over to everyday life.
Only 24% of the public believe economic conditions are improving, while nearly four-in-ten say the nation's economy is actually getting worse, according to a recent CNN poll. Meanwhile, the Consumer Confidence Index declined two months in a row.
The economy still feels depressing because for many people, it is, said Elise Gould, a labor economist at the liberal-leaning Economic Policy Institute.
"Those at the very top have bounced back, but we have not seen that for people at the middle or at the bottom," she said.