Unemployment Rate Drops to 5.1%

MIAMI BEACH, FL - JULY 05:  A ''Now Hiring'' sign is seen in the store front window on July 5, 2012 in Miami Beach, Florida. The ADP released the National Employment Report which showed that employment in the U.S. nonfarm private business sector increased by 176,000 from May to June on a seasonally adjusted basis.The government will release its closely watched employment report for June on Friday. (PHOTO CREDIT: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
MIAMI BEACH, FL – JULY 05: A ”Now Hiring” sign is seen in the store front window on July 5, 2012 in Miami Beach, Florida. The ADP released the National Employment Report which showed that employment in the U.S. nonfarm private business sector increased by 176,000 from May to June on a seasonally adjusted basis.The government will release its closely watched employment report for June on Friday. (PHOTO CREDIT: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The U.S. economy added 173,000 jobs in August, while the unemployment fell to 5.1%, according to a report released Friday by the Labor Department.

The total number of new non-farm payroll jobs was about 50,000 lower than economists had expected, but that was tempered by the fact that estimates for job gains in June and July were revised up by a total of 44,000 jobs.

The unemployment rate, now at 5.1%, is now at the lowest rate since April of 2008, well before the beginning of the economic recovery. While that sounds like great news, much of that decline can be blamed on the fact that the labor force participation rate, or the ratio of folks in the labor market to Americans over the age of 16, remains at levels not seen since the late 1970s, before women began entering the job market in force.

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SOURCE: Fortune, Chris Matthews

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