Mish points out the obvious:
To be sure, the drop in the unemployment rate [from 9.5 to 9.4 percent] was a surprise, but it was all due to the slide in the labour force — the employment-to-population ratio gives a more accurate picture of the slack in the labour market and the hidden secret in today’s report was that this metric slid to a 25-year low of 59.4% from 59.5% in June and 61.0% at the turn of the year.
19731950 for that – as well as the scale of rising not-employment.
Even these numbers appear to considerably overstate the case. The “civilian noninstitutional population” is reported by the BLS at 235.87 million, considerably less than the U.S. Census-reported population estimate of 306.29 million. I think it’s reasonable to consider soldiers employed; they’re arguably more productive than most government employees, so adding the 1,455k members of the military to the 140,041k civilian employed means that 46.2 percent of the population is employed, not 59.4 percent as reported in the July 2009 employment report.