The economy these last past years hasn't been the best. That's obvious. Explaining employment gaps, however, can't be singled out in two simple words, "the economy." You really do have to explain gaps in employment. Relying on "the economy" answer isn't going to cut it anymore when it comes to finding a job.
The best way to handle a gap in employment is with honesty. You should also address the issue asap. A cover letter with any application or resume is the perfect way to notate what happened to cause the gap. This will address any potential concerns an employer may have.
If you were fired because of layoffs, state this. If you quit your job, state why you left voluntarily and play up the positives of the former job. If you were let go because of a performance issue make sure to emphasize how your skills were not being utilized properly.
The worst thing you can ever do to explain an employment gap is to try and cover it up or lie about it in any manner.
Until next time,