The latest jobs report shows that after three months of decline, the Latino unemployment rate rose slightly in January.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report released Friday shows the Latino unemployment rate increased from from 8.3 percent in December to 8.4 percent in January.
Meanwhile, the national unemployment rate fell to a five-year low of 6.6 percent in January, down from 6.7 percent in December. That’s the lowest it’s been since October 2008.
For the second straight month, hiring was weak. Employers only added 113,000 jobs to the U.S. economy in January. This follows the 75,000 jobs that were added in December. Last year, employers added on average 136,400 jobs per month.
Jobs were added in five areas last month: construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade and mining.
Responding to the latest jobs report, Jason Furman, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, stated:
“Today’s report is another reminder of both the progress that has been made and the challenges that remain. Businesses have now added 8.5 million jobs over the last 47 months and the unemployment rate ticked down to its lowest level in more than five years.”
He added the economy is still “healing” from the most recent Great Recession, which ran from December 2007 to June 2009, and that “steps are still needed to expand economic opportunity.”
Latino unemployment rate jumped during the recession
The recession hit Latino families the hardest, especially when it comes to unemployment.
A study by the Pew Research Center shows the Latino unemployment rate stood at 6.3 percent at the start of the Great Recession in December 2007. By the time the recession officially ended in June 2009, the unemployment rate for Latinos had jumped to 12.2 percent. Over the same period, the national unemployment rate rose from 5.0 percent to 8.5 percent.
The study also shows Latinos took the biggest hits in two other areas during the recession: household wealth and poverty.
The median household wealth among Latinos fell from $18,359 in 2005 to $6,325 in 2009. That’s a 66 percent drop, the largest among all racial and ethnic groups. Meanwhile, blacks saw a drop of 53 percent and whites saw a drop of 16 percent.
When it comes to poverty rate, Latinos saw a big increase. The Pew Research Center study shows that between 2006 and 2010, the poverty rate among Latinos increased more than any other group, from 20.6 percent to 26.6 percent. By contrast, the poverty rates among whites increased from 8.2 percent to 9.9 percent. Among blacks, it increased from 24.3 percent to 27.4 percent.
To this day, Latinos are still struggling to recover from the recession.
This week, Latino leaders with the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP) announced they’re teaming up with business leaders to help Latino families not only bounce back from the recession, but also triple their household wealth over the next 10 years.
Also stepping in to help is a group of lawmakers on Capitol Hill who recently announced the creation of the Full Employment Caucus. The goal of the Caucus is to create jobs, especially for those who are struggling the most.
“In too many of our communities — particularly the Hispanic and black communities — unemployment is at levels not seen in the rest of the nation since the Great Depression,” stated Rep. José Serrano (D-N.Y.), a member of the Caucus. “We cannot rest until people in all communities have access to good jobs as well as the training and skills they need get them. Our nation is stronger when everyone is employed.”