The drop in the unemployment rate in August to a 4 1/2-year low was hardly cause for celebration. The rate fell because more people stopped looking for work.
More than 300,000 people were no longer working or looking for a job. Their exodus shrank the so-called labor force participation rate — the percentage of adult Americans with a job or seeking one — to 63.2 percent. It's the lowest participation rate since August 1978.