A WEEK ago, Americans were told that their economy had expanded for a second consecutive quarter, and rapidly at that: output grew at an annual rate of 5.7%. This week, they are reminded that a return to growth has yet to benefit the jobless. The economy lost 20,000 jobs in January, a decline driven by the loss of 75,000 jobs in the construction sector. Economists had forecast an increase in employment of around 15,000. The unemployment rate, based on household rather than establishment data, showed a slight improvement, dropping from 10% to 9.7%, but nearly 15m Americans remain unemployed. As Larry Summers put it in Davos last week, the American economy is experiencing "a statistical recovery and a human recession".