The unemployment rate dipped to 8.2 percent, and African-American unemployment dropped to 14.0 percent in March, according to a report issued by the Labor Department on Friday.
The reductions of .1 percent from February in both numbers continued a gradual dip in the jobless rate over the last year. The unemployment rate was 8.9 percent overall and 15.6 percent for African-Americans in March of 2011.
At the same time, the economy added only 120,000 jobs, many fewer than the 240,000 that were added in February and about 80,000 fewer than many economic experts anticipated. The number suggested the rapid growth in jobs over the last several months may be slowing.
WATCH CNBC COVERAGE OF THE WATCH THE JOBS REPORT COULD MEAN:
For President Obama, the report has good and bad news. His likely opponent in the fall election, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, is likely to highlight the slow growth in casting the president as not having done enough to help the American economy. But Obama and his team can point to the continued drop in the jobless rate as a sign that the country continues to emerge from a crippling recession.
For African-Americas, the high rate of joblessness was not surprising; black unemployment was about double that of white unemployment even before the recession. But one positive note is that layoffs from state and local governments, which disproportionately employ blacks, is slowing.
Last March, the government sector lost 15,000 jobs; but in March 2012 it was only reduced by 1,000, suggesting states are laying off fewer employees to balance their budgets.
Follow Perry Bacon Jr. on Twitter at @perrybaconjr