Job Outlook Improves for All Races, Except Blacks

Dozens of job seekers line up to enter a National Career Fair, Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012 in New York. The number of people seeking unemployment aid stayed at a four-year low last week, the latest evidence that layoffs are low and the job market is slowly healing. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan) (National Journal)

African-American workers are the only racial group whose jobless numbers did not improve last month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which released a month-over-month jobs report Friday.

(RELATED: Jobs Market Is Improving, but the Long-Term Unemployed Still Can't Catch a Break)

The numbers, slightly more optimistic than forecasted, showed the addition of 236,000 jobs, dropping the overall unemployment rate to 7.7 percent--the lowest since December 2008. The increase translated to minor improvements for workers of color, most of whom saw their jobless rates drop slightly.

Blacks remain more likely than all major racial groups to be unemployed, and their jobless rate of 13.8 percent is nearly double the average for all Americans.

February's overall unemployment rate is a small drop from the 7.9 percent recorded in January. Asian workers saw the biggest decline in unemployment, which fell from 6.5 percent in January to 6.1 percent in February. (Seasonally adjusted rates for Asians are not available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.)

White workers saw their numbers fall from 7 percent in January to 6.8 percent in February. Hispanic workers also saw a modest improvement in unemployment, dropping 1 percentage point to 9.6 percent in February.

Our sister publication, Quartz, provided two easy-to-digest charts summarizing Friday's job numbers, including an analysis of which industries improved the most. Atop the list are professional and business services, construction, and education and health services; losing the most positions were local and state governments.

Check out the interactive graph below to see a historical timeline of unemployment numbers compared with this month's report.