The unemployment rate fell for the first time in four years in July, but the jobs numbers did not exactly reflect the economic recovery.
The jobs report released Wednesday said the unemployment rate held steady at 5.1% in July from 5.4% in June.
That’s down from 5% in May, but still well above the 2.9% rate recorded in July 2009.
The unemployment figure is the unemployment plus discouraged workers rate, which is an index that measures the number of people who have given up looking for work.
In June, the jobless rate was 5.3%.
The unemployment number includes discouraged workers, who are out of the labor force but are still looking for a job.
It excludes people who dropped out of jobless benefits because they couldn’t find a job, were laid off or had their benefits cut.
It includes people who were actively looking for new jobs, but who are not looking for jobs because they had other commitments or had other concerns.
It also includes people on food stamps, who receive benefits and who are counted as discouraged workers.
The Labor Department reported that the labor participation rate rose slightly in July to 63.7%, its highest level since November 2009.
It’s also up from 62.5% in August.
The government said the number who said they are actively looking dropped by 0.3 percentage points, to 57.3% of the workforce.
The number of employed people also rose, reaching the highest level in six months.
The labor force participation rate is a better measure of labor force activity because it does not include people who are actively seeking work, such as those who have stopped looking for or are looking for part-time work.
It is also the most accurate measure of the U.K. and Canada’s unemployment rates, which are much lower.