Unemployment is heading back above 6 per cent, having never fallen below the 5.5 per cent recorded in September last year.
Growth also peaked last year. It has been boosted by a surge in net immigration but that also means that in per capita terms, gross domestic product growth is a lot less than the headline rate.
By the latest June quarter, annual growth in expenditure GDP was 2.7 per cent but only 0.4 per cent per capita.
And the Reserve Bank, in its latest monetary policy statement, now expects the output gap to remain negative for two more years. That would make nine - nine! - straight years in which the economy produced less than it could have.
If that was as good as it gets, it wasn't all that good.
Unemployment rates in the high 5 per cent range contrast with several years around 4 per cent preceding the 2008-09 recession.
They are also well clear of the rate - around 4.5 per cent - which is thought to be problematic from the standpoint of inflation.
Unemployment at the rate we have seen in recent years has been associated with pretty modest wage growth.
That does not matter so much when the inflation rate is really low (currently 0.4 per cent).
But on the Reserve Bank's forecasts, households face the unpleasant squeeze of a labour market which is weakening while inflation rises towards 2 per cent.
In last week's statement, the bank has slashed its forecast for economic growth in the current year to March 2016 by more than a percentage point, compared with what it thought in June.
Accordingly, jobs growth is forecast to drop to 1.4 per cent this year and 1.5 per cent next year - less than half the rate we have seen in the past two years.
But at the same time, "the labour force is growing at slightly over 3 per cent per annum, reflecting both high levels of net immigration and higher participation in the labour force", it says.
The boost to the labour supply from the gain in migrants has helped create the situation where a couple of years of strong employment growth, north of 3 per cent per annum, only nibbled at the unemployment level. At 148,000, it is only 5000 fewer than two years ago.
The net gain from migration - remember that this number includes New Zealanders - was just under 60,000 in the year ended July, boosting the resident population by 1.3 per cent.
The bank continues to forecast that the migration surge will fall away. Eventually it will be right.
But it is not just net migration which has been swelling the supply side of the labour market.
The labour force participation rate - the proportion of the working age population either working or actively seeking work - has also been rising.
It currently stands at 69.3 per cent, up from 67.9 per cent two years ago. With a working age population of 3.6 million, the difference is an extra 50,000 people in the labour force.
These are high participation rates by international standards. In Australia it is around 65 per cent.
So we are left with a picture of a cycle that never really came close to overstretching the economy's resources and creating a seller's market for labour.
And now it is clearly on the downward slope.
So is that just the way it goes, given the endless capacity of the other 99.8 per cent of the world economy (lately China in particular) to make life difficult?
Or is there also evidence there of domestic policy failure?
Former Reserve Bank economist Michael Reddell, who now blogs as Croaking Cassandra, certainly thinks so.
"World dairy prices aren't something the governor can control, but the economy now would not be as weak as it seems to be, and - not incidentally - inflation would be nearer target if interest rates had not been raised so much and if, having been raised, they had been lowered more quickly," he says.
Perhaps the early stages of last year's tightening were defensible in light of the data at the time, Reddell says, and certainly lots of onshore economists thought so.
To keep on hiking and then take a year to start cutting, quite grudgingly, even as core inflation stayed very low, was just indefensible. What is it about a situation of rising unemployment, near-zero per capita GDP growth, and well-below-target inflation makes them think we've needed higher real interest rates?
Even after last week's cut, the official cash rate is still higher than it was at the start of last year.
Even as he has reversed three of last year's four rate hikes, and foreshadowed the likelihood of more easing, governor Graeme Wheeler has steadfastly resisted acknowledging last year's tightening was a mistake.
Raising rates last year was the right call in light of the data at the time, he insists. Who could have foretold that dairy prices would fall as far as they did?
But it is not plausible to attribute all of the economy's slowdown to the dairy effect, the worst of which has yet to hit incomes, especially when net migration and oil prices provided offsetting positive surprises.
He hit the brake pedal too hard and too long.
Policymakers inevitably get things wrong from time to time. But if they are to learn from their mistakes, they first have to acknowledge that they are mistakes.