I thought I would have to actually work at this chart, meaning pull the population figures from the Census Bureau, then getting the "total people employed" figures and then divide the two. However, it seems the folks in charge of the FRED database have actually been bucking the government employee trend by (GASP!) working! The data series is already pre-calculated!
Naturally my intent was to highlight the significant drop in the percent of the population that is working and show that a smaller and smaller minority of people are supporting the rest of us, however something did jump out at me and that was just how few people were actually working back in the early 60's. only 37% of the population supported the remaining 63%.
Of course this is somewhat misleading as it does not consider stay-at-home mothers (or fathers) "working" and it wasn't until women left the house for the labor market did this ratio increase. What is interesting, however, is how we had
higher-technology adjusted standards of living
higher economic growth
and sounded government finances
than we do today with 10% LESS of the population working.
I also find it interesting that with more people working how government spending as a percent of GDP went up. Should this not have been the reverse? As more people labored, then private sector GDP would have gone up, shrinking government's spending as a percentage...unless...hmmmmm......there is one thing that would explain all of the above.
But I'll let you junior, deputy, aspiring, official or otherwise economists out there figure that out.