When you're done reeling from the severity of the current recession, take a look at the possible trend you can see for the current and past few recessions. Earlier recessions seemed to reach a point and then employment would shoot back up. Later recessions stagger on for a while before slowly recovering (More "U" shaped than "V" shaped). It's like we're a boxer that takes longer and longer to get back up after every knock down.
It's worth noting (and this is correlation, not causation!) that beginning in the late 70s and accelerating in the 80s and even more so after NAFTA, we've been losing the manufacturing base that provided the bulk of our good paying but accessible jobs (and you can correlate that to the strength of unions in this country). So after a recession, who is there to begin hiring enough to reduce the unemployment rate? Remember that the US needs to add about 127,000 jobs every month just to keep up with population growth. In the 90s we had a tech/.com boom, but those jobs are now going overseas too. In the 2000s we had the construction boom but that turned out to be a bubble that isn't likely to return.
If we get out of this, it's going to be either because of another bubble or a new innovation that leads to a sustainable industry that can't go overseas. A bubble will be faster but it just delays the problem. And we don't seem to have the willpower to invest in new industries. There was a lot of talk during the 2008 campaign about creating green jobs. But because of the compromises in the stimulus bill (with Republicans who ended up not voting for the bill anyway), and a weak and stalled Cap & Trade bill, we're not really devoting enough to that for it to go anywhere. A re-shuffling of the health & insurance industries might also help.
Without innovations, we will eventually recover, but it'll be via jobs in the Service industry, which are low paying and insecure. That's not where we want to go.
I've been doing my best to ignore the "scandals" and politics generally but it's time to check in on what really matters. Compared to here and here, it looks like things are better, until you realize that where we are... Read More: Scariest Chart Ever still Scary