The federal government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes monthly tallies for the employment-population ratio. That stat shows something rather straightforward: Among those who are living in America and are free to pursue employment, what percentage are employed? (The bureau excludes those who are under 16 years old, are active-duty military, or are — in the bureau’s own words — “inmates of institutions (for example, penal and mental facilities, homes for the aged),” from its tallies.)

Over the past quarter of a century (a total of 300 months), dating back to May 1987 and the Reagan administration, here are the 30 worst months (that is, the bottom 10 percent) for the employment-population ratio, along with the president who happened to be in office at that particular time (scroll down to the see the list):

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