African-American Unemployment Falls Ever So Slightly In July To 14.1 Percent

Source: Joyce Jones / BET

In a sign that the economy is still in the early stages of recovery, the African-American unemployment rate in July dipped slighty to 14.1 percent, from 14.4 percent in June. The national rate rose to 8.3 percent, compared to 8.2 percent the previous month, and 163,000 new jobs were added to the economy, the most in the last five months.

Initial unemployment claims rose by 8,000 to 365,000 in the week ending July 28, the Labor Department reported on Thursday. And according to a Bloomberg News report, it is the last week in which annual auto plant retooling closures will affect the numbers. The four-week moving average was 365,500, down 2,750 from the previous week’s revised average of 368,250.

The monthly jobs report is not only a measure of how the economy is faring but also a key issue in the 2012 campaign that could help determine whether President Obama returns to the White House in January 2013 and which party controls the House and the Senate.

Few expected to see a significant drop in the Black unemployment rate, but some analysts and lawmakers consistently point to the high number to underscore how critical it is that African-Americans develop new and marketable skills. They have a far greater chance of doing so, Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Emanuel Cleaver told And while they won’t likely change their allegiance from Obama even if their unemployment numbers soar, those key independent voters whom the president and Republican Mitt Romney are so ardently courting can go either way.

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