Jobless rate for black Americans at lowest level since 2007

Markets Associated Press

Black Americans made strides in the job market in August, while those without high school diplomas lost ground.

Continue Reading Below

The unemployment rate for black Americans fell to 8.1 percent, their lowest level since July 2007. And in an encouraging sign, their labor force participation rate — the proportion who are either working or actively seeking work — rose.

Despite the improvement, an employment gap by race remains stubbornly wide: The jobless rate for African-Americans, at 8.1 percent, is nearly double the 4.4 percent rate for whites.

It was a tough month for the least educated, who face an increasing number of employers seeking workers with higher skills. The unemployment rate for those without high school diplomas jumped to 7.2 percent from 6.3 percent in July.

Overall, U.S. employers added a modest 151,000 jobs last month. The overall unemployment rate remained at 4.9 percent for a third straight month.

The data for various demographic groups came from a survey of households that is part of the Labor Department's monthly jobs report.

Continue Reading Below

Unemployment rate by group:
(Numbers in percentages) August 2016 July 2016 August 2015
White* 4.4 4.3 4.4
Black 8.1 8.4 9.4
Asian 4.2 3.8 3.5
Hispanic or Latino ethnicity** 5.6 5.4 6.6
Adult men 4.5 4.6 4.7
Adult women 4.5 4.3 4.7
Teenagers 15.7 15.6 16.8
20-24 years old 8.1 9.0 8.9
25-54 years old 4.3 4.1 4.4
55 and over 3.5 3.7 3.8
Veterans of Iraq/Afghanistan* 4.7 5.9 4.7
No high school diploma 7.2 6.3 7.7
High school graduate 5.1 5.0 5.5
Some college 4.3 4.3 4.4
College graduate 2.7 2.5 2.5
Duration of Unemployment:
Average length (weeks) 27.6 28.1 28.3
Jobless 6 months or more (pct.) 26.1 26.6 27.7
*Not seasonally adjusted
**Includes all races
Source: Labor Department