"Jobless recovery" is no mere catchphrase to the millions of Americans that the middle class has shed from its ranks. Many have been out of work for so long that they've exhausted unemployment benefits as the systems strains under what one expert says is "the reality of long-term unemployment" for which it was ill-prepared. And even as the economy turns around, the New York Times reports that jobs may in fact be years away.
In normal times, the US needs to generate 100,000 new jobs monthly to cover new jobseekers—making the scope of a recovery that could pull 15 million Americans off unemployment rolls massive, prolonged, and improbable. “There are no bad jobs now,” says one middle-aged woman who has been jobless for two years. “Any job is a good job.”