African American History Month spotlights labor force

President Barack Obama may be the latest example of an African American making strides in the workforce, and the strides of black workers in America are worth noting as African American History Month, also called Black History Month, is upon us.

African American workers make up 11% of American workers or those looking for work, are younger than the total labor force, work more in education and health services than any other sector, and have made huge gains in getting an education and lowering their unemployment rate, and spend more time working and less time sleeping than others, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics publication.

Here are some highlights of the African American labor force:

* There were 17.7 million African Americans in the labor force in 2008, making up 11% of all Americans 16 and older who were employed or looking for work. About 16 million blacks were employed in 2008.

* They're younger than the total labor force, with 64% of black workers under age 45, compared with 59% of all labor force participants.