Here is more evidence of the parlous state of the US economy - the civilian employment to total population ratio. It peaked in April 2000, when 64.7 percent of the adult population were working. As late as November 2007, the ratio stood at 63 percent.
However, in the last six months, the ratio has tumbled. Today, the ratio is 59.9 percent; more than 40 percent of the US adult population are either unemployed, serving in the armed forces, or sitting at home watching Jerry Springer.