In another headline number, the unemployment rate dropped a tenth of a point to 3.4 percent -- after remaining in the 3.5-3.7 percent range since March. Notably, the number of employed Americans increased by 894,000 to 160,138,000 in January -- breaking last month's record of 159,244,000. This resulted in a labor force participation rate of 62.4 percent in January -- compared with 62.3 percent in December and 62.2 percent in November. After rising for more than three decades, the overall labor force participation rate peaked in early 2000 and subsequently trended down. Speaking of retirees, one number went in the wrong direction last month: The number of people counted as not in the labor force increased by 252,000, settling at 100,130,000.