The Bureau of Labor Statistics posts some interesting data if you're trying to understand our economy. One interesting table is the Employment-Population ratio. (You've got to dig for this stuff.) I learn today from digging around that the current Employment-Population Ratio for June 2011 is 58.5%. In effect, not quite 6-in-10 American adults worked at a job in June 2011. That's the lowest percentage we've seen since 1981, coming out of the Carter presidency.
Yet, we're told that the unemployment rate is about 9%.