For black Americans and veterans, Big job gains in 2015

AP News
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Posted: Jan 08, 2016 4:13 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Black Americans made big strides in the job market in 2015, achieving their lowest unemployment rate since before the recession.

The black unemployment rate fell to 8.3 percent in December, the best showing since an 8.0 percent reading in September 2007.

Despite the improvement, the unemployment gap by race remains stubbornly wide. The jobless rate for African-Americans is almost double that of whites and was stuck in double digits until mid-2015.

Other groups that made notable gains last year were workers in their early 20s, recent veterans and those without high school diplomas.

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

In December, U.S. employers added a robust 292,000 jobs, bringing the year's total job growth to 2.65 million. The unemployment rate held steady at 5 percent.

Unemployment rate by group:
(Numbers in percentages) December 2015 November 2015 December 2014
White 4.5 4.4 4.8
Black 8.3 9.4 10.4
Asian* 4.0 3.9 4.2
Hispanic or Latino ethnicity** 6.3 6.4 6.5
Adult men 4.7 4.7 5.3
Adult women 4.4 4.6 5.0
Teenagers 16.1 15.6 16.8
20-24 years old 9.4 9.6 10.7
25-54 years old 4.3 4.3 4.7
55 and over 3.2 3.7 4.0
Veterans of Iraq/Afghanistan* 5.7 4.2 6.9
No high school diploma 6.7 6.8 8.8
High school graduate 5.6 5.4 5.3
Some college 4.1 4.4 5.0
College graduate 2.5 2.5 2.8
Duration of Unemployment:
Average length (weeks) 27.6 27.9 32.5
Jobless 6 months or more (pct.) 26.3 25.7 31.8
* Not seasonally adjusted
**Includes all races
Source: Labor Department