How many Americans still want jobs?

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By Jeff Spross

Another month, another fairly good jobs report. The U.S. economy created 209,000 new jobs in July, and the unemployment rate ticked down to 4.3 percent. But there’s even more good news: The labor force participation rate basically, the percentage of the U.S. population in the workforce — also ticked up to 62.9 percent in July, continuing an upward trend from 62.8 percent in June.

How much higher can it go?

To answer that question, it helps to first look at the size of the hole we’re in. The Great Recession delivered a massive blow to labor force participation, knocking it down 3 percentage points — over 15 million people.

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