The OECD has put together a truly fascinating time chart of industrial output over the last 30 years as a gauge of where we are during the current recession. While indicators have just recently taken a turn towards less bad, industrial output in the US has yet to show improvement.
I think the biggest fear right now is that we might end up with a dreaded 'double dip' where the stabilization over the last 4 or 5 months has actually set us up for another leg down before any actual turn around has a chance to grow legs. If the economic cycle holds true that will be the determining factor of whether a recovery is a year away, or 2 1/2 to 3 years away, and this time it's much harder to predict because the wild card are these unbelievable federal deficits that could end up stoking significant inflation 2 or 3 years down the road.
I'm old enough to remember what the 70's were like, so I'd rather not see anything like that repeated again. :-)