The reason for high unemployment figures in the US and the chance they will improve have been based on two opposing theories. The first is that jobs were lost because of the recession. The second is that many jobs are gone forever because of permanent changes in the economy. The debate is framed by the balance between cyclical and structural unemployment. One piece of good news from IMF researchers and other from the San Francisco Fed is that 75% of the jobs lost in the recession are cyclical, which means they will come back as the economy recovers. Based on that assessment, the recessions effect on jobs was mostly temporary
What the research did not predict is how long it will take the cyclical jobs to return. That, as much as anything, will determine the fate of the US economy over the next year.