There's no real change in long-term unemployment - with the labor participation rate at record lows (hence Gallup's higher readings). But there's equally little doubt now, with today's unemplyoment numbers, that the recovery is real, if not spectacular. It's hard to disagree with Mataconis:

Since November, the Unemployment Rate has fallen a full percentage point, a sign that this is more than just a minor recovery. More important, U-6, the broadest measure of unemployment, has fallen along with the overall rate over the past four months and is now below 16%, not good but a heck of a lot better than it was even six months ago. Politically, this is obviously good news for the Obama Administration and, if it holds up, the possibility of the unemployment rate being belong 8% by Election Day 2012 seems pretty likely at this point.

Meep, meep.