Simply looking at unadjusted versions of traditional statistics may not be the best way to compare the state of the current economy to previous periods. When comparing recessions, it is important to account for demographic changes.
Shimer, Robert. "Why is the U.S. Unemployment Rate So Much Lower?" NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1998, vol. 13, pp. 11-74.
Elsby, Michael, Bart Hobijn and Aysegul Sahin. "The Labor Market in the Great Recession." Unpublished manuscript, March 2010.