Republicans and Democrats have spent a lot of time during their conventions arguing over this question: Are Americans better off today then they were four years ago?
One important metric for answering that question is the relative state of the job market.
Locally and statewide, the job market has shown marked improvement over the last year. In the Sacramento region, the unemployment rate has fallen by almost two full percentage points since July 2011. It now stands at roughly the same point as during president Barack Obama's fifth month in office.
On the other hand, 112,000 Sacramentans who want to work still can't find a job, a roughly 50 percent increase over the number of unemployed local residents four years ago. The Sacramento unemployment rate today is about 3 percentage points higher than when Obama accepted his party's nomination in September 2008.
This chart shows the unemployment rate in California and Sacramento during each month over the last four years.
Source: California Employment Development Department