Thought I'd weigh in here.
Any decent employer will want to invest in their employees, and that's especially true of the big corporations who have budget for that kind of thing.
This is very, very true. Emphasis on decent
Worth noting that working for an ambitious manager is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because if he's the one that hired you, it's because he's planning on have you replace him so he knows he'll have an underling that's capable and has worked with him before. A curse because he'll expect as much of you as he expects of himself (which might be quite a lot).
If you can cut it though, you're on to a good thing.
Like a few others, I was unemployed for a significant length of time after completing university. I live in New Zealand though, so I probably won't recount the story of my adult life unless people are actually interested, or think that it will be a decent parallel to the American experience (I hear it well may be, but that's anecdotal sentiment at best).
Oh, and on the subject of women and unemployment: The girls I know have not had to grapple with unemployment. They are somehow more motivated and more persistent than the guys I know. A few have gotten complacent in being employed (and aren't pushing themselves any further, or not looking for a new job despite dissatisfaction at remuneration), but by and large, the only unemployed people I know are guys. One could say that they are luckier, but that can't account for everything.