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Washington • Recent veterans found jobs in February, helping reduce their unemployment rate to its lowest level in five months.

The jobless rate for veterans who have served in the armed forces anytime since September 2001 dropped to 4.6 percent from 6.3 percent in January. More of these veterans began looking for work last month and were hired.

The unemployment rate also declined across ethnic groups, including whites, Asians and Hispanics.

For black Americans, though, unemployment rose to 8.1 percent from 7.7 percent, exacerbating a stubborn employment gap by race. The jobless rate for African-Americans is nearly double that of whites.

All told, employers added 235,000 jobs in February. The overall unemployment rate dipped to 4.7 percent from 4.8 percent in January.

The data for demographic groups came from a survey of households that is part of the Labor Department's monthly jobs report.