It has been 3 years since the financial crisis and yet unemployment is still over 9%. So why? Well, from my admittedly narrow perspective the internet and China eliminated certain jobs faster than jobs could be added in other areas. For example due to the internet our company was able to reduce marketing staff. We found that marketing staff made very little difference because buying Google search terms was the only thing that significantly effected sales.
The way I see it the 2001 downturn corresponded with the fall in the need for certain worker due to the internet even while mechanization and China's fast growing economy eliminated many manufacturing jobs. Greenspan pushed interest rates down low enough that housing absorbed enough workers to mask the situation. Now that the housing bubble has burst we need some deep changes. There is as always plenty of work to be done but it takes time for new services to evolve and be accepted.