Let's look deeper into the recent period, 2000-05. This was by no means a recessionary episode; the real economy expanded by 12 percent over this period, and productivity rose by 17 percent. What's going on here? Basically, the middle class stopped participating in the economic expansion. Workers are working harder, and are more productive, but their pay and living standards stagnate. Meanwhile, corporate profits soared. According to research by Robert Gordon and Ian Dew-Becker, the productivity gains went to the top 10 percent. This lies in stark contrast to the 1990s, where the large productivity gains (related in part to the IT boom) were shared more broadly.
The whole thing is worth a read.