Update 3: I wish I had titled this post: "Labour quality: the dog that stopped barking".
I see something a bit different in that graph that all the macro-bloggers have been blogging about. Sure, I see the "poor sales" that everyone else sees. But what about "quality of labour"? What's important is that "quality of labour" is not seen as the "single most important problem" by more than a very small number of small US businesses right now. It's usually, in normal times, seen as a problem by a lot more businesses. That tells us something important.
I see booms as times when it's easier to sell stuff and harder to buy stuff. And recessions are times when it is harder to sell stuff and easier to buy stuff. By "stuff" I mean both goods and labour. Forget the distinction between the goods market and the labour market. The important distinction is between money and everything else. It's money that is hard to "buy" in a recession; everything else is easy to buy.
So firms are telling us that it's hard to sell goods and it's easy to buy good quality labour. Yep. That sounds like an excess demand for money and an excess supply of everything else. Standard Keyneso-monetarist recession. Not structural unemployment, where firms can't find the right sort of labour.
If I were technically competent I would figure out some way of playing with that graph and subtract "quality of labour" from "poor sales" to show you what I mean. But I'm not. Which is why I have never been able to make it as a good empirical economist.
Update: Daniel Kuehn picks up on this post and makes explicit a point I really should have emphasised more, and repeated. This data goes right against the recalculation story (or what I call "structural unemployment"). If recalculation was the reason for increased US unemployment, more firms should be saying that finding good quality labour is their most important problem. But we see the exact opposite. In other words, at the margin, recalculation looks less of a problem now than it usually is. (Though, if we solved the deficiency of demand problem, it might of course become a problem; which is why I said "at the margin".)
Update 2: Niklas Blanchard has found a much better chart to show what I wanted to show, and coloured it in to make it clearer. It's all much clearer now. (How come other people can do such things??)