A deep dive inside the most unusual job market in American history

It might be difficult to remember what the U.S. economy looked like a year ago. The contrast is stark. 

The unemployment rate was 6.7%, with 10 million fewer people employed than before the coronavirus struck. Many expected that it would take years for the labor market to heal, but then two historic surprises tossed those predictions out of the window: Demand for workers came soaring back at a velocity almost never before seen, and, despite companies going all out to hire, millions of workers either retired early or stayed on the sidelines.

These two forces collided to create the most unusual job market in living memory—and an economy afflicted not by too few jobs, but too few workers.

Read a recent story from The Washington Post, which uses data visualizations and videos to showcase how strange these times are.