Latino Unemployment Rate in September 2014: Jobless Rate Falls to Lowest Point Since May 2008
While the overall U.S. unemployment rate dropped to its lowest levels in six years, the Latino unemployment rate also fell to a new low.
The U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics published the latest unemployment figures based on September's data, and the national average was 5.9 percent. Among the population identified as Latino, the unemployment rate dropped to 6.9 percent. September's Latino unemployment figure is a 0.6 percent decline from August's 7.5 percent. In comparison to September 2013, the Latino seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 8.9 percent. The 6.9 percentage rate is a level not seen since May 2008.
Department of Labor Secretary Thomas Perez noted the Latino poverty rate is also down "significantly" as the unemployment rate fell by two percentage points from a year ago.
"Things are unquestionably moving in the right direction, but we can do even better," Perez said. "The Labor Department and the Obama administration are working harder than ever not just to create more jobs and accelerate growth, but to strengthen the middle class and build an economy that works for everyone."
In terms of specific numbers, 1.9 million Latinos were unemployed in August, but unemployment decreased to 1.74 million in September. As the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) noted, "unemployed" was defined as an individual who is "available to work, make and effort to find a job, or expect to be called back from a layoff but are not working."
Overall, the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated 23.7 million Latinos were employed, meaning people working over the age of 16 including those "temporarily absent from their jobs."
"Latino employment likely benefited from payroll gains in several key industries where Latinos are overrepresented as a share of the workforce," NCLR noted. "Employment in residential construction, where Latinos represent nearly one-quarter of the workforce, rose by 6,200 last month. Administrative and waste service grew by 59,800. Latinos make up one-quarter or more workers in this industry group."
While 25.4 million Latinos are in the civilian labor force, which is recognized as the total of individuals employed and unemployed, millions more are not participating in the labor force. As the Bureau of Labor Statistics noted, 13.2 million Latinos are "not in the labor force," which includes people over the age of 16 who are not employed or unemployed and are not searching for employment.
The Latino unemployment rate declined for men and women over 20 years old. Among Latinas, the unemployment rate fell from a not-seasonally-adjusted 8.1 percent in August to 7.2 percent for September. Among men, the rate slipped 1.1 percent to 4.8 percent. In comparison to September 2013, the unemployment rate among men declined from 7.4 percent, while women's was higher at 8.1 percent.
The unemployment rate for Latinos between 16 and 19 years old, however, increased from August's 21.6 percent to 24 percent.
"Six years after the near-collapse of the U.S. economy, we have come a long, long way. The new foundation for growth is in place," Perez said. "The challenge now is to expand opportunity further, to help more people benefit from this recovery, and to ensure that prosperity is broadly shared."
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