Last weekend, 11,000 economists descended on Chicago for the annual meeting of the American Economic Association and allied organizations. That sounded like a great opportunity to get a fix on what’s ailing us. After perusing a 400-page program that listed everything from “Robustness and Approximation in Mechanism Design” to “Implications of Rational Inattention,” I sat in on a panel considering “What Happened to the U.S. Employment Miracle?” Here’s what I heard:

Things are not really better.