National unemployment rates falls to lowest level in two years at 8.5 percent. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images) None:
Mon, Jan 9, 2012 8:03 AM EST

The unemployment rate fell for both whites and Latinos in 2011, according to the government's December jobs report released Friday. But the black unemployment rate was 15.8% in December, exactly where it started out at the beginning of the year and about twice as high as the white unemployment rate.

The white unemployment rate fell to 7.5% last month and Latinos--at 11%--actually saw the lowest unemployment rate since January 2009, according to the Labor Department.

The black unemployment rate has been roughly double that of whites since the government started tracking the figures in 1972, Bill Rodgers, chief economist with the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University, explained to CNN.

"Minorities and women are heavily concentrated in public sector jobs," Rodgers explained to CNN. "With these major cuts we're seeing in public employment, you're going to see minorities pushed out of these jobs."