The unemployment rate for Hispanics fell to 11 percent in December, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported Friday. That is the lowest rate since unemployment for Hispanics peaked at 13.2 percent in November 2010.
The overall unemployment rate fell to 8.5 percent, the BLS reported, down from 9.1 percent in January 2011 and the lowest rate for all of 2011.
The BLS reported a total of 200,000 jobs had been added to the nonfarm payroll ranks in December. The total number of jobs added in 2011 topped 1.6 million, or an average of 149,090 jobs added each monthly. While encouraging, the average is far less than the 400,000 jobs added monthly in 2007. Even if job growth returns to the 2007 levels, analysts say it might take at least two years to rehire the 7 million workers who lost jobs during the recession.
The drop in the Hispanic unemployment rate might be the result of good job growth in five key employment sectors that accounted for 139,900 of the 200,000 new jobs in December.
Transportation and warehousing, which had added only 9,800 jobs from January to November, surged with 50,200 jobs added. Health care continued its steady job growth with 28,700 new jobs. Manufacturing added 23,000 jobs and leisure and hospitality added 21,000.
The troubled construction sector, which had shed 5,000 jobs between January and November, bounced back by adding 17,000 new jobs in December.
For the years, job growth in these sectors remained in positive territory – health care, 329,400; manufacturing, 176,000; leisure and hospitality, 160,000; transportation and warehousing, 60,000; and construction, 12,000.
Government continued to shed jobs in December, 12,000, and ended up the year with a job decrease of 271,000.
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