The U.S. population is growing. In normal times, the labor force — working or not — would be growing too. But these are not normal times, and the labor force is actually smaller than it was four years ago, meaning millions of people who should be there aren't.
The reasons people drop out of the workforce are myriad. People go back to school. Others have health issues or family priorities that keep them from looking for work. But some stop looking because they are discouraged.
It's been four years since the U.S. launched a massive bailout of the financial system and the auto industry. While much of the bailout money has been paid back, the government still owns large shares in companies such as AIG and GM, and has yet to recoup some $200 billion in bailouts.
Update, 8:52 a.m.: The number of non-farm jobs in the U.S. increased by 96,000 in August, according to the jobs report. Three years into the recovery, the U.S. jobs picture is still bleak. There are 4.7 million fewer jobs today than there were in January 2008, the month when employment peaked.
The concept of "pay what you want" for goods and services is a nostalgic throwback to the days when people trusted one another just a little bit more, and it's something you expect to see at the occasional farm stand or at a hip, independent coffee shop.
It's back to work for some 200 ex-TWA flight attendants. American Airlines will recall the workers in November, according to U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill.
They were laid off back in 2001 after the 9/11 attacks hit the airline industry hard. American had cut 2,500 flight attendants in all during the slowdown, many of them were former TWA employees. The airline had bought out TWA earlier in 2001.
Here's how the average American with a full-time job spends a typical workday: Here's a more detailed breakdown of two of the categories listed above: Notes: The figures come from the American Time Use Survey, which is conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The numbers are, of course, averages.
Today we get new data for durable goods orders. Those are orders of big ticket items like computers. It's often looked at as a sign of how much businesses are spending. And it's a good indicator of what we can expect in coming months. Our own Adam Allington reports for Marketplace Morning Report via the link.