CNBC: Nearly Half the U.S. Population is Without a Job, Showing How Far the Labor Recovery Has to Go

June 30, 2020

Article by Yun Li in CNBC financial

Nearly half of the population is still out of a job showing just how far the U.S. labor market has to heal in the wake of the coronavirus. 

The employment-population ratio — the number of employed people as a percentage of the U.S. adult population — plunged to 52.8% in May, meaning 47.2% of Americans are jobless, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics. As the coronavirus-induced shutdowns tore through the labor market, the share of population employed dropped sharply from a recent high of 61.2% in January, farther away from a post-war record of 64.7% in 2000.

This ratio is a broader look at the employment picture. It takes into account adults not in the labor force and captures those who were discouraged about the prospects of finding a job, whereas the unemployment rate looks at people actively looking for a job. 

“To get the employment-to-population ratio back to where it was at its peak in 2000 we need to create 30 million jobs,” Torsten Slok, Deutsche Bank’s chief economist, said.

The number of Americans filing for unemployment claims came in higher than expected for the past two weeks straight. 

“Right now the economy’s recovery is being dragged down by the millions and millions of Americans without jobs and [who] simply haven’t got it,” Chris Rupkey, MUFG Union Bank’s chief financial economist, said in a note. “The massive job losses mean ...

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