The traditional unemployment numbers come with so many asterisks that we’re accustomed to ignore them. While the official US unemployment number is 11.1%, the percentage of people who could be working but aren’t is 45.4% (100%-54.6%). The 54.6% represents the ’employment-population’ ratio. Even that measure has asterisks (e.g. military, retired, et al.) but is more representative of the population that is actually working, rather than 88.9% (100%-11.1%). The employment-population ratio peaked circa 1999 at approximately 65%. The minimum was approximately 52% in the spring. The consequence is that there are millions more potential workers out of work who aren’t being counted. Regardless of the economic news, that’s a large untapped potential as well as a larger than expected drain in resources, and a large population of disaffected citizens.