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Last week’s jobs report was on the weak side as U.S. economic growth, which recently had shown some signs of life, stalled in April. While overall unemployment fell one percentage point to 8.1 percent, the labor force only added 115,000 jobs, down 39,000 from the previous month.

The percentage of the working age population that is participating in the job market is at its lowest rate in 30 years. Somewhat hidden in the tepid news are positive numbers for one segment of the population: black women.

Since December 2011, black women have knocked more than 3 percentage points off of their unemployment rate, going down from 13.9 percent to 10.8 percent. That drop is the largest for any demographic group, with the growth concentrated in education, health care, and the retail industry.

Meanwhile, unemployment for their black male counterparts has gone down from 15.7 percent in December to 13.9 percent currently. White men and women both have an unemployment rate just below 7 percent, but the gap between black and white workers has closed significantly since the economic downturn began.

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