The great job shift © MSN Money (The great job shift © MSN Money)

The recovery is now officially in its fifth year. Sure, the stock market is back. And housing is getting off the floor. But for middle class Americans, the pressure is still on.

This has been an uneven recovery, with the benefits accumulating to the rich and the corporate sector while regular folks have largely been left behind amid stagnant wages, rising living costs, mediocre job gains and persistent long-term unemployment.

And none of this is new. The recession merely exacerbated trends that started in the late 1970s: lost manufacturing prowess, an important source of good-paying jobs; a shift to generally lower-paid service jobs; freer global trade, which deepens these employment problems; and increased reliance on finance, credit and debt as families try to hold on to the American dream.

The graphics that follow illustrate the depth of the problem -- and explain why so many in the middle class feel still feel so frustrated.