Black unemployment spikes to 7.7%, up from record low

Key Points
  • Overall, unemployment in January was 4.1 percent, and nonfarm payrolls rose 200,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • President Trump has touted the December number in an attempt to show his economic policies are working for black Americans.
Job seekers wait in line to speak with representatives during a Choice Career Fair in Los Angeles.
Patrick T. Fallon | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Unemployment among black workers spiked in January after having fallen to its lowest level since the government started tracking the data.

The black unemployment rate of 7.7 percent last month was a jump up from the 6.8 percent reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in December, which at the time was the lowest reported since 1972. December was the first time since then that the black unemployment rate fell below 7 percent.

President Donald Trump touted the December number during his State of the Union address earlier this week, calling it "something I'm very proud of." He has used that December figure several times in an apparent effort to prove his economic agenda is working for black Americans.

The president even got into a Twitter tussle with the hip-hop star Jay-Z last weekend, tweeting a response to the musician's on-air criticism of Trump's comments last month about immigrants from Africa.


White unemployment in January was 3.5 percent, which was down from 3.7 percent in December, and Asian unemployment was 3 percent, up from 2.5 percent in the December report.

Overall unemployment was 4.1 percent in the January report, released Friday. Nonfarm payrolls rose 200,000.