The unemployment rate for African Americans jumped nearly a full percentage point last month, government figures indicate.
Some 13.4 percent of all blacks were unemployed in February, by far the highest percentage of any adult category. The Latino unemployment rate was 10.9 percent.
Black unemployment rose .8 percent from January to February.
As expected, the January data showed a dismal trend as the United States struggles through one of its worst recessions in decades. The economy overall lost an estimated 651,000 jobs last month, and more than 2 million have vanished in the last three months.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics said the nation’s overall jobless rate rose from 7.6 percent in January to 8.1 percent in February, the highest rate in more than 25 years. An estimated 12.5 million Americans were unemployed last month, an increase of 851,000 since January.
“This is not people being on furlough for six weeks or a month or two — this is permanent job losses, and that is what makes this so difficult,” John Silvia, chief economist at Wachovia, was quoted as saying on the New York Times Web site.
Read more about today’s report on NYT.com.