The Bureau of Labor Statistics released today the latest unemployment numbers just before the November 6th Presidential election. It revealed a slight uptick in the overall unemployment rate from 7.8 percent in September to 7.9 percent this month. From a positive point of view, this rate remained under the 8 percent level and is an improvement over the previous October’s rate of 8.9 percent. From a negative perspective, it remains too high with more than 12 million unemployed, and points a very sluggish economic recovery.
The table below presents the employment statistics for Latinos. In October 2012 the Latino unemployment rate was 10.0 percent, up from 9.9 percent in September. However, this rate went down considerably from the previous year, when the Latino unemployment rate for October 2011 was at 11.4 percent. The number of Latino unemployed in October was 2,469,000, making Latinos 20.1 percent of total unemployed.
Latino unemployment rates on the second place
Among the major racial-ethnic groups, Latinos had the second highest unemployment rate. The unemployment rate for Blacks was 14.3 percent, for Whites it was 7.0 percent and for Asians it was 4.9 percent (the Asian rate, for statistical reasons, is not seasonally adjusted).
Among Latinos, the unemployment rate for women was higher (9.5 percent) than for men (8.3 percent). However, while compared to the September 2012 rate it rose for men, it declined for women. The unemployment rate for Latinos ages 16 to 19 was 28.9 percent, an increase over the previous month (27.8 percent), but better than a year earlier (31.0 percent).
There are a number of problems with the way these unemployment statistics capture the true nature of joblessness in the country. For Blacks and Latinos in particular, the exclusion of the institutionalized population from these statistics (based on the Current Population Survey), which includes large numbers of Blacks and Latinos in correctional facilities, further distorts these numbers for these communities.
Another limitation of these employment statistics for Latinos is that they do not include Puerto Rico, whose residents are US citizens. The US Labor Department has a separate program for collecting employment statistics from Puerto Rico, whose findings lag a month behind those for the States. According to this local survey, in September 2012 the unemployment rate in Puerto Rico was 13.6 percent, almost unchanged from the previous month (13.5 percent), and representing 172,500 unemployed persons in this US territory of 3.7 million. If you add Puerto Rico to the Stateside numbers, Latinos comprised about 21.3 percent of total US unemployed.
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