According to figures released by the U.S. Labor Department in its last jobs report of the year, the African-American unemployment rate ticked up slightly from 10.9 percent to 11.1 percent in November, after two months of decline. The national unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.8 percent.
The labor market is a lot more robust than those figures. The economy added 321,000 jobs, far exceeding expectations of 230,000 new jobs. The biggest gains were in the professional and business services sector, which grew by 86,000, followed by retail with 50,000 new jobs.
In other good news, the October jobs report was revised from 214,000 job gains to 243,000. The September report also was revised up to 271,000 from 256,000.
That optimism doesn't extend to earnings, however. Wages have increased by only 2.1 percent in the past year, which barely maintains pace with the rising costs of services like education and health care.
"Job growth in November was strong, and the economy has now already added more jobs in 2014 than in any full calendar year since the late 1990s. To create an environment in which this progress can continue, it is critical that Congress take the basic steps needed to fund the government and avoid creating disruptive and counterproductive fiscal uncertainty," said Jason Furman, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers. "We have an opportunity to work together to support the continued growth of higher-paying jobs by investing in infrastructure, reforming the business tax code, expanding markets for America’s goods and services, making common sense reforms to the immigration system, and increasing the minimum wage."
Follow Joyce Jones on Twitter: @BETpolitichick.
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