Joshua Thevenin has been a newspaper salesman, fireworks vendor and tele-marketer in the last month. He's one of the millions of seasonal and temporary workers wondering if the recovery from the Great Recession is actually happening.

Lately, everyone from economists to President Barack Obama in his State of the Union are bullish on the economy.

But those like Thevenin, who live in the economy's shadows, know it's difficult to turn the page, much less begin a new chapter when you can't find full-time work.

The nation's unemployment rate is currently 5.6 percent. An alternative measure of unemployment, which includes people who work part-time but want full-time work, and those who recently stopped searching for jobs, is at 11.2 percent.