Unemployment Rises Sharply for Blacks

The black unemployment rate spiked to 14.4 percent in June but stayed the same overall.

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Job seekers at a job fair in Illinois (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

The Associated Press on Friday reported a third straight month of weak hiring, showing that the economy is still struggling three years after the recession ended.

The numbers released by the U.S. Department of Labor showed that the national unemployment rate of 8.2 was unchanged but rose significantly among African Americans in June to 14.4 percent from 13.6 percent in May.

The economy added an average of just 75,000 jobs a month in the April-June quarter. That's one-third of the 226,000 a month created in the first quarter.

For the first six months of the year, U.S. employers added an average of 150,000 jobs a month. That's fewer than the 161,000 a month for the first half of 2011. And it shows that the job market is weakening.

"It's a disappointing report," said George Mokrzan, director of economics at Huntington National Bank in Columbus, Ohio. He said the job gains are consistent with sluggish economic growth.

The stock market opened sharply lower. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 146 points in the first hour of trading, and the Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 15 points, or 1.1 percent.

Money flowed into government bonds, perceived by investors as safer. The yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note, which moves in the opposite direction from its price, fell to 1.55 percent, from 1.59 percent on Thursday.

A weaker job market has made consumers less confident. They have pulled back on spending, even though gas prices have plunged since early spring.

Read more at the Associated Press.

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