Jobless rate for black Americans at lowest level since 2007

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

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.