The discouraged workforce are those that no longer find it worth their time to actively look for jobs. That means, once jobs open up again, they might be willing to once again apply for work. That would cause "sticky" unemployment levels where employment is rising, but, due to people rejoining the workforce, unemployment does not go down as fast as could be expected. We really don't know how much of the discouraged workers will choose to return to the workforce once demand for labor returns. Of course it is possible that we will never go back to the good old days due to sociological changes Obama is succeeding in making.