Have you noticed the trend after each economic slowdown? As the economy starts to recover and then does , it is usually referred to as a " jobless recovery " That is what has been happening and it will continue. When the economy slows businesses cut back to take a defensive position. They then look for ways to improve productivity. This often results in ways to work smarter which includes better technologies . Then as the economy improves they find that they can grow too but without needing to revert to the employment levels that existed pre slowdown. The result is that business can grow without hiring. This is good for the business and the stockholders but not so for people looking for a job.
The way for employees to participate is by improving their skills and knowledge but unfortunately we do not have a good national program in place to make this happen and the result is that we get increasing unemployment levels among the less educated . The level of unemployment among high school dropouts is 17 % and it will change little as the economy does improve.As a country we need to increase and improve the level of education of the younger generation but we have a school system that fails them.