The Labor Department today reported that the U.S. economy gained 431,000 jobs in May and that the jobless rate dropped to 9.7 percent from 9.9 percent in April.
"Regular unemployment is what happens in a normal recession, when companies lay off workers for a short period of time and then hire them back when the economy recovers," says Edward Stuart, an economics professor at Northeastern Illinois University.
This time, however, tight credit markets and weak consumer spending have dried up company finances, making it very difficult for them to add new workers.
In addition, the recession has hit some industries -- such as construction and manufacturing -- especially hard, which means that workers in those areas might find it almost impossible to land another job in their sector.
Our friend Dale Rosenberg was interviewed for this article. She's been looking for work for 10 months without success.