The unemployment rate for African Americans was virtually unchanged in May at 14.9 percent, still the highest for any group of U.S. workers.

The black unemployment rate peaked this year at 15 percent in April.

Overall, economist found reason to celebrate today with the release of new employment numbers. For the fourth straight month, the pace of layoffs slowed.

An estimated 345,000 U.S. jobs were eliminated in May. That still was enough to push the nation’s jobless rate to 9.2 percent from 8.9 percent in April. It also underscores the difficulties that nation’s 14.5 million unemployed workers are having finding jobs.

Some economists predict the jobless rate will hit 10 percent by the end of 2009 before it starts a slow descent. The post-World War II high was 10.8 percent at the end of 1982.

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