The employment rate’s new normal

The employment rate’s new normal

The share of Americans with jobs did not increase in 2013. The economy added about 182,000 jobs a month, just enough to keep pace with population growth.

At the end of 2006, 63.4 percent of American adults had jobs. By the end of 2009, this employment rate fell to 58.3 percent, and it has recovered only very slightly.

2009: 58.3 percent

2010: 58.3 percent

2011: 58.5 percent

2012: 58.6 percent

2013: 58.6 percent

This stands in sharp contrast to the more familiar unemployment rate, which continues to fall rapidly. But the unemployment rate doesn’t measure the share of American adults who don’t have jobs. It only counts people who are seeking work. It has been falling primarily because a smaller share of people is seeking work.

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