The job market is likely to be grim for years to come—economists expect that even if job creation returned to the brisk pace of the ‘90s, unemployment wouldn’t return to 5% until 2017. And for many of the unemployed, the numbers belie the real problem: The positions they're trained for may be gone forever. The real estate and finance industries, for example, will probably never support as many employees as they did before the recession.
Positions in retail and leisure depend on growth in consumer spending, which has also been slow to recover, the Wall Street Journal reports. Predicting which industries will flourish is difficult, and the likely winners—health care and analytical services, for example—generally require intensive training. Many of the unemployed, encouraged by an Obama administration push, are training for "green jobs," but those relatively new industries will require advances in technology and infrastructure before they can support large workforces.