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Expand chart
Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals

The percentage of Americans who are employed sits at just over 50%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' employment-population ratio. The figure plunged to 51.3% in April (the lowest level on record) and edged up to 52.8% in May.

The backdrop: The ratio was as high as 61.2% in January, but has fallen precipitously since coronavirus-induced lockdowns shuttered businesses across the United States.

  • The measure reached its peak in April 2000 when 64.7% of eligible American adults were employed.

What it means: While the BLS' jobs report categorizes people as "employed," "unemployed" or "out of the labor force," the employment-to-population ratio simply captures those who are and are not employed.

The intrigue: Torsten Sløk, chief economist at Deutsche Bank Securities notes, “To get the employment-to-population ratio back to where it was at its peak in 2000 we need to create 30 million jobs."

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Oct 5, 2020 - Economy & Business

Long-term unemployment's V-shaped bounce

Expand chart
Data: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals

The number of people considered long-term unemployed has made a worrying bounce in recent months, as Friday's jobs report showed 3.8 million people had lost their jobs permanently in September.

Why it matters: That's almost twice as many as at the height of the pandemic in April.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Oct 5, 2020 - Economy & Business

What's underneath the latest jobs report

Expand chart
Data: Department of Labor; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Friday's U.S. nonfarm payrolls report was one of the best jobs growth numbers in history, but taken in context the expected number was abysmal.

  • The U.S. added 661,000 jobs for the month, less than half of the 1.4 million added in August, and a bit more than a third of the 1.7 million added in July.
Dave Lawler, author of World
2 hours ago - World

How Biden might tackle the Iran deal

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Four more years of President Trump would almost certainly kill the Iran nuclear deal — but the election of Joe Biden wouldn’t necessarily save it.

The big picture: Rescuing the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is near the top of Biden's foreign policy priority list. He says he'd re-enter the deal once Iran returns to compliance, and use it as the basis on which to negotiate a broader and longer-lasting deal with Iran.