The recent recession seems to have had a revealing effect on the economy. While the unemployment rate as of Dec 2014 is back to what it was in June 2008 (5.6%), the employed to population ratio as of Dec 2014 (59.2) is not what is was in June 2008 (62.2). Also, wile the former has dropped by about 5% since the official end of the recession, the latter ha barely moved up by 1%.
What explains the discrepancy? I think it reflects the manner in which the commonly reported unemployment rate is measured -- i.e. based on the people seeking work. If the number of people seeking work decreases, then the unemployment rate decreases, even if those people chose to remain unemployed, but the employed-to-population ratio still falls.