Due to dubious exclusions from the labor force, I like to look at employment as a proportion of the civilian, non-institutionalized population over 16 years of age. It would be interesting to factor in the incarcerated population, particularly since the US imprisons so many, but I failed to find statistics on that population that I could correlate to the Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers.
We now have a lower percentage (61.44 percent) of people counted as employed than we have had in annual figures since 1986 (60.69 percent). More people, as a proportion of the population, were working in 1986 than ever had before, this year was one in a series of increasing employment among the population which can be attributed to an increasing need for both partners in marriages to work. That need has not gone away, but the jobs have.