News Column

Hispanic Unemployment Continues to Drop

April 5, 2013

B.D. Campbell --

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Hispanics continue to make gains in the jobs market, with a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate that dropped in March to 9.2 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The Hispanic unemployment rate was 9.6 percent in February, which in turn was down slightly from 9.7 percent in January. The rate for Hispanics a year ago was 10.3 percent.

Overall unemployment for the country dipped to 7.6 percent and the number of unemployed hovered at 11.7 million, the BLS reported. The number of long-term unemployed remained essentially the same at 4.6 million.

--- Related: Unemployment Ticks Down to 7.6 Percent

Employment in professional and business services and health care grew in March, while retail trade employment shrank.

Construction employment grew by 18,000 jobs, continuing an upward trend in the sector -- one that is particular important to Hispanics, who are heavily represented in the construction trades. The construction industry has added 169,000 jobs since September, according to BLS figures.

Hispanic Gains and Losses

There are 2.2 million idled workers in the Hispanic civilian labor force, out of a total Hispanic civilian workforce of 24.4 million.

The unemployment rate for Hispanic males 20 years and older was 8.2 percent, down significantly from February, when it was 9.1 percent, and March 2012, when it was 9.8 percent. The rate for Latinas was 9.3 percent compared to 10 percent both last month and the year prior. Those numbers weren't seasonally adjusted.

Hispanic youth 16 to 19 continue to be hammered in the aftermath of the Great Recession, with an unemployment rate for both sexes of 28.1 percent. That number was 29.1 percent last month and 30.5 percent a year ago, not seasonally adjusted.

Broken out by race, the seasonally adjusted U.S. unemployment rate in March was 6.7 percent for whites, down significantly from 7.3 percent year over year, and remains high for African-Americans at 13.3 percent, down from 14 percent. Seasonally adjusted rates for Asian-Americans weren't available.

When not seasonally adjusted, the numbers were 9.5 percent for Hispanics in March; by race they were 7.3 percent for whites, 14 percent for African-Americans, and 5 percent for Asian-Americans.

Involuntary part-time workers -- people who are employed part time but want full-time work -- fell by 350,000 in March to 7.6 million, the BLS reported.

The number of discouraged workers -- defined as people who aren't looking for work because they believe they won't find any -- remained about the same as a year earlier, at 803,000.


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