Fusion, data via BLS

The unemployment rate for black Americans fell to its lowest level since June 2008, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday, hitting 9.1 percent in July.

That's down from 9.5 percent in June. Here's the chart:

Fusion, data via BLS

The unemployment rate for black men over the age of 20 also fell to a seven-year low, hitting 8.8 percent. The rate rose by 0.1 percentage points from June to 8.0 percent for women.

The black-white unemployment rate gap also narrowed, hitting its lowest level since April 2008. White unemployment fell to 4.6 percent from 4.7 percent in June.



The labor force participation rate—representing the number of employed and unemployed individuals over the size of their population—also fell slightly for blacks, to 61.5 percent from 61.7 percent in June. For black men, that rate hit its lowest level since May 2014, falling to 67 percent in July from 67.6 percent in June.

The rate ticked upward to 62.1 percent from 62.0 percent for black women, their highest number since February 2014.

Overall, the U.S. economy added 215,000 jobs in July, while the national unemployment rate held steady at 5.3 percent.


But average hourly earnings were up just 0.2 percent month-over-month and 2.1 percent higher year-on-year, reinforcing views that economic growth, while real, remains sluggish. As University of Michigan economist and New York Times contributor Justin Wolfers tweeted:

Rob covers business, economics and the environment for Fusion. He previously worked at Business Insider. He grew up in Chicago.