Latino Unemployment Remains Unchanged Despite a Dip in the National Unemployment Rate
December 02 2011
Today is the first Friday of the month and that means that the federal government’s latest job figures are out. And the news is good! Well, it’s relatively good.
The good news: the unemployment rate dipped from 9% to 8.6% and the economy added 120,000 jobs in November. This is encouraging, especially as we head into the holiday season. In fact, the unemployment rate has been dropping—albeit slowly—since October 2009, when it was at its peak of 10%. The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza highlighted this trend today in a piece describing what this means for the president. Check out his chart below.
The not so good news: Latino unemployment remains at an all-time high of 11.4%; the outlook is particularly bleak for young Hispanic workers. In our latest Monthly Latino Employment Report, we focused on America’s Latino youth workers and what these new numbers mean for them. If we don’t put the right policies in place, this community, which is estimated to become one-third of the American workforce by 2050, will continue to lag behind. Worse, the effects of high Latino unemployment will extend well beyond the Latino community.
This month’s report outlines what policies Congress must consider to create jobs and bolster the education, skills training, and employment of young Hispanic workers.
From the report:
1. The “Pathways Back to Work Act” (H.R. 3425./S. 1861). This legislation builds on the success of the Recovery Act’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Emergency Fund and promising strategies funded through the Workforce Investment Act (WIA). It includes $1.5 billion in funding for paid work experience targeted to disadvantaged youth. In 2009, a similar program connected nearly 360,000 young people to jobs with recognized credentials and meaningful work experience.
2. Reauthorization of federal transportation legislation. The transportation sector already employs over a million Latinos, and the pending reauthorization of the federal transportation bill has the potential to create millions of jobs in communities across the country. Workforce development programs designed to reach low-income young people, such as the program described in the “Transportation Job Corps Act of 2011” (H.R. 929), could go a long way to opening opportunities for Latino young adults in the transportation sector.
3. Workforce Investment Act Appropriations. Both the House and the Senate have proposed cuts in fiscal year 2012 to WIA Title I and II programs that provide skills training, education, and paid work experience for low-income young people. These cuts would have a devastating impact on programs that already operate on reduced budgets and would greatly reduce the number of young people served in every state.
4. Extension of the payroll tax holiday and long-term unemployment insurance benefits. The expiration of these items at the end of 2011 would wreak havoc on a macroeconomic level because consumer demand would plummet. Congress must extend these provisions to protect the fragile economic recovery and prevent future job losses.
For more information about NCLR’s work on the economy and the workforce, visit www.nclr.org.
Issues: Economic Recovery, Monthly Latino Employment Reports, Economy and Employment, Economy and Workforce
Geography:California, Far West, Midwest, Northeast, Southeast, Texas