*There was some good news on the nation’s unemployment front last month, but not for Blacks.

According to the monthly report released Friday by the Labor Department, the overall unemployment rate fell from 10.0 percent in December to 9.7 last month. The decline took place even though the economy lost another 20,000 jobs to the current recession.

When the unemployment rate falls at the same time that jobs are being lost, it usually means that a significant number of people simply became discouraged and stopped looking for work. The Labor Department does not count a person as being unemployed unless he or she is actually looking for work and cannot find it.

Meanwhile, the employment picture improved for both whites and Hispanics while getting worse for African Americans. Joblessness among whites improved slightly from 9.0 percent in December to 8.7 percent in January.

A slight improvement also took place for Hispanics. Their unemployment rate dropped from 12.9 percent in December to 12.6 percent Last month.

However, the jobless rate among African Americans continued to rise – going from 16.2 percent in December to 16.5 percent last month. Overall, 2,929,000 African Americans were searching for work in January and could not find. (source: Taylor Media Services)