KPI's (key performance indicators) have traditionally been determined by stock market performance, unemployment, low inflation and interest rates, and manufacturing orders. The belief was if business is doing well then the nation must be doing well!
Today the stock market is hovering at all time highs, interest rates for home loans remain low and unemployment is at 6.3% According to economic indicators we have added private sector jobs for 50 straight months! And yet a lot of people do not (feel) good about the state of the economy.
Outsourcing manufacturing jobs has changed the whole economic paradigm. A company might increase production but in (other) countries where employees earn $5-$10 per (day). This would increase profits for the company and also make it attractive for investors to get a good return by purchasing the company's stocks. A company makes record profits and investors get great returns.
Many U.S. blue collar employees have been forced into lower paying service sector jobs. If one has a job it means they're not "unemployed" which brings down the unemployment rate.
The less money people earn the less they spend which keeps down inflation as well as interest rates. This has led to fast food workers asking for $15 per hour. Essentially you have adults with families working in jobs that were once regulated for teenagers or people seeking extra part-time income. I can't tell you the last time I saw an actual "paperboy" or a kid cutting lawns for money. Most of these jobs are being handled by adults today!
In reality this has been a "Swiss Cheese" recovery in part because some high tech companies are doing well and some states have (aggressively) gone after corporations to relocate to (their) state offering low to $0 taxes rates for up to ten years. When one state brags about the number of jobs it has increased it is usually offset by another state who lost jobs due to those companies relocating.
Last but not least there is a (psychological) component involved with how we (feel) about the economy. I know people who have not been laid off, did not have their home foreclosed on, may have even gotten a few raises over the years, have money in savings, and so on BUT they still do not (feel) secure about their future prospects. Some feel guilty or may even have empathy pains for those they know or have heard about who have not done as well.
The only real economic indicator is how (you) "feel" about (your) economic future. The (good) "numbers" don't mean anything anymore!