The simultaneous decline in both the unemployment rate and the number of people with jobs was possible because the "labor force participation rate" dropped to 63.2 percent in August. That is the lowest it has been since August 1978.
The labor force participation rate is the percentage of adults 16 years or older who either had a job or actively sought one in the last four weeks.
The unemployment rate is the number of adults in the labor force (n.b. they had a job or were actively seeking one) who could not find a job.
The labor force participation rate had been 63.4 percent in July before dropping to 63.2 percent in August. In January 2009, when President Barack Obama took office, it was 65.7 percent.
In July, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that there were 144,285,000 Americans with jobs. In August, the BLS estimated there were 144,170,000--a decline of 115,000.