We’ve been following the government’s lead, headlining the latest unemployment rate and consigning the participation rate to a later paragraph or ignoring it altogether, as if it didn’t much matter. It does.'The Labor Department has a broader monthly statistic that accounts for the dropouts, but it doesn’t get equal billing with the unemployment rate. It is called the labor force participation rate, and if it received the attention that it deserves, then the June job numbers, published and broadcast in early July, would have been stripped of some of the glow, because tens of thousands of people gave up actively looking for another job. in doing so, the dropouts meant the labor force participation rate was stuck at 62.9 percent, near its lowest level since 1977\. From a politician’s point of view, it’s desirable to sidestep bad news. But journalists don’t need to accept the practice.