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The progress utility allows progress to be monitored of file I/O. It includes support for gzip-compressed files, so "progress -z -f file.tar.gz tar xf -" would show progress of extracting file.tar.gz.

I have ported the NetBSD progress utility to Linux and Solaris. Sources and Debian GNU/Linux packages (for i386 and sparc) are available at http://ftp.unixdev.net/pub/debian-udev/pool/main/p/progress/. For source builds, download progress_1.10.orig.tar.gz and progress_1.10-2.diff.gz; then apply the patch to the NetBSD (orig) sources. A binary for Solaris 10 sparc is also available here.

Example (2.05MB file)
  0% |                                                        |      0 KB       0 KB/s    00:00 ETA