The fact that declines in output since the Great Recession have been parlayed into equivalent declines in measures of potential output is commonly interpreted as implying that output will not return to previous trends. We show that real-time estimates of potential output for the United States and other countries respond gradually and similarly to both transitory and permanent shocks to output. Observing revisions in measures of potential output therefore tells us little about whether changes in actual output will be permanent. Some alternative methodologies to estimate potential output can avoid these shortcomings. These approaches suggest a much more limited decline in potential output since the Great Recession.