One specious analogy you hear a lot lately is to argue that Obama's recovery has been much weaker than the recession of the first few years under Reagan. Superficially this seems analogous as unemployment did briefly hit 11.3% which is even higher than the 10.1% unemployment topped out in 2009.
However, as Krugman points out this is not an apples to apples comparison as this has been a very different type of recession than 1979-82:
"more than four years ago I predicted a very slow recovery. Why? Because recessions like those of 1990-91, 2001, and 2007-2009 have very different origins from recessions like 1974-75 or the double-dip recession of 1979-82. The old recessions were more or less deliberately created by the Fed via tight money to control inflation, which meant that you had a V-shaped recovery once the Fed decided that we had suffered enough and loosened the reins. The new recessions all reflected private-sector overreach, which is much harder to make up for."
"Note that while I predicted a slow recovery way back when, it has been even slower than I expected. But that’s no mystery; at that point neither I nor anyone else knew just how far the private sector had overreached, plus I didn’t expect the unprecedented fiscal austerity that has been such a drag on recovery given the fact that we’re in a liquidity trap."
Back in 2008 those now attacking Obama for saying the private sector job growth is "fine" were claiming there was no recession at all, that it was a "mental recession."
"people like Hubbard and Gramm were denying that there was any recession at all. In fact, as late as July 2008 Gramm declared that all we had was a “mental recession”, and that America had become a “nation of whiners."
For the record private sector job growth under Obama has been there the trouble is all the government sector job cuts especially at the state and local level.