BUSINESS

Black Teen Unemployment Rate Rises To 43 Percent In February

CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 09:  Job seekers wait in line at Kennedy-King College to attend a job fair hosted by the city of Chica
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 09: Job seekers wait in line at Kennedy-King College to attend a job fair hosted by the city of Chicago on November 9, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. Thousands of people started to line up at 3AM for the job fair which did not begin until 9AM. When the doors opened the line was about a half-mile long. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent in February, the Labor Department reported on Friday. That's still rather high, but it's nothing compared to what black teens are grappling with: an unemployment rate that grew to 43.1 percent.

That's higher than when the recession ended. It's also substantially higher than in November 2007, right before the recession started. Back then, the black teen unemployment rate -- teen being defined as anyone between the ages of 16 and 19 years old -- was 28.9 percent, according to Labor Department data.

(An alternative measure paints the same bleak picture: Just 15.6 percent of black teens had a job in February, down from 21.2 percent before the recession started, according to the Labor Department.)

For years, the black teen unemployment rate has been roughly double that of white teens. The overall teen unemployment rate was 25.1 percent in February, up from 16.2 percent right before the recession started.

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