Before the recession began, 63 of every 100 people age 16 and over were employed. The percentage plummeted to 58.4 by the fourth quarter of 2009 and hasn’t moved far from there since.
The number of people employed is about the same: roughly 143 million. But the umemployment rate is 7.8 percent now compared to 5 percent in 2005. And there are 17 million additional Americans eligible to work, either unemployed and looking or not participating in the labor force.