The latest employment data just released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that the US employment to population ratio stagnated at 58.6% between September and October 2010, and was down slightly from 58.8% for the same period last year. The US employment to population ratio has been trending downwards since 2000.
Many economists believe that reporting the number employed as a percentage of the civilian population provides a more accurate description of the current state of employment than conjecturing the number of "unemployed" in a population. The US employment to population ratio reached a historical peak of 64.4% on an annual basis in 2000.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics