"I think it's a structural change in economy needed to be globally competitive," said Mead Wilkins, director of Medina County Job and Family Services.
Many workers already have dropped out of the middle class due to pressure on wages in the global economy, and the proportion of middle-class families has been going down for the past decade and probably will continue to shrink, he said.
Wilkins suggests that a better-educated labor force could help.
"We just have to be smarter than the rest of the world," he said. "That's the only way we're going to continue to be an economic powerhouse."
But some experts such as Alan Tonelson argue that education alone won't help American workers get jobs. He maintains that U.S. trade policy gives Third World countries and unfair advantage in global markets.
Developing nations understand the value of improving its population's education and skill levels, but they retrain such enormous amounts of surplus labor that their wages will remain very low even for highly skilled workers, said Tonelson, a researcher with the United States Business and Industry Council.
Bethany Dentler, executive director of the Medina County Economic Development Corp., was more optimistic.
She agrees that many jobs are not coming back, but believes "there are other jobs around the corner."