This is a pretty good read comparing recessions and the rapidity of the recovery:
Why did the U.S. recover faster from the Panic of 1907 than from the 2008 recession and the Great Depression?
Commerce Department data released last Friday show that four years after the recession began, real gross domestic product per person is down $1,112, while 5.8 million fewer Americans are working than when the recession started.
Never before in postwar America has either real per capita GDP or employment still been lower four years after a recession began. If in this "recovery" our economy had grown and generated jobs at the average rate achieved following the 10 previous postwar recessions, GDP per person would be $4,528 higher and 13.7 million more Americans would be working today.
Behind the startling statistics of lost income and jobs are the real and painful stories of American families falling further behind: record high poverty levels, record low teenage employment, record high long-term unemployment, shrinking birthrates, exploding welfare benefits, and a crippled middle class.
But, in fact, the 1981-82 recession was deeper and unemployment was higher. Moreover, the 1982 recovery was constrained by a contractionary monetary policy that pushed interest rates above 21%, a tough but necessary step to break inflation. It was also a recovery that required a painful restructuring of American businesses to become more competitive in the increasingly globalized economy. By way of comparison, our current recovery has benefited from the most expansionary monetary policy in U.S. history and a rapid return to profitability by corporate America.