*While African Americans continue to have the highest unemployment rate of any major population group, the overall situation appeared to have improved last month with Black unemployment falling from 16.1 percent in September to 15.7 percent in October.

According to the monthly Labor Department report released on Friday, this improvement took place while the jobless rates for both whites and Hispanics worsened.

The Black unemployment rate of 15.7 percent compared with rates of 8.8 percent for whites (up from 8.7 percent in September) and 12.6 percent for Hispanics (up from 12.4 percent in September).

Overall, the economy created 151,000 new jobs in October although the national unemployment rate remained unchanged – standing at 9.6 percent. This increase was welcomed by most economists because it came after four consecutive months of job loses.

Meanwhile, the improvement in the jobless picture for African Americans may have been only partially real. In October, there was also an increase in the number of “discouraged” workers – people who have given up looking for work because they feel they will not find any. Discouraged workers make the unemployment rate look better than it actually is because the government does not count a person as unemployed unless he or she is actively looking for work.

Regardless, there were actually fewer jobless Blacks in October than in September. Last month’s unemployment figure for Blacks was 2,814,000 compared to 2,860,000 in September. The average hourly wage last month (for the nation as a whole) was $22.73 – up by 5 cents from September. (source: www.blacknewsjournal.net)