Some of the 13,000 Wichita-area jobs lost since 2008 are gone. Forever. Welders, aircraft wing assemblers, the woman who answered the phone, the guy who wrote ad copy. Employers replaced them with robots or workers in another country or just decided that those jobs didn't need to be done anymore.
The recession, say experts, has pushed companies to re-examine their work forces and work practices in a way they don't during good times. So far, companies have benefited enormously.
The nation's productivity shot up 6.3 percent last quarter over the previous year. That's the dynamic American economy reinventing itself with new ways of doing things, say economists.
But there is a huge cost: Economists say that millions of laid-off workers no longer match up with available jobs, even when the economy comes back. In April, 6.7 million people, 46 percent of the nation's unemployed, had been out of work for more than six months.
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