Today’s jobs report from the Department of Labor confirmed anxiety over the state of Latino employment in the United States. Following a trend of declining job gains that began near the end of 2015, April added 160,000 jobs, following the addition of 245,000 and 215,000 jobs in February and March, respectively.
The professional and business services industry saw the greatest growth in April, adding 65,000 new jobs. Within the management, administrative, and waste services subset of this category, Latinos are heavily represented among landscaping services (44%) and services to buildings and dwellings (42%).
While the national unemployment rate remained steady at 5%, Latino unemployment rose from 5.6% to 6.1%, the culmination of months of slight increases. Although this is the highest rate of Latino unemployment seen in 2016, it should be noted that it is still significantly lower than it was in April of last year, when it reached 7%. Overall, there are 1.6 million Latinos in the United States who remain unemployed, despite reporting that they are available and actively looking for work.
Although this news is understandably troubling, it should be noted that a 6.1% Latino unemployment rate is notably better than it has been at most points since the Great Recession hit. This rise in unemployment among our community should not cause alarm, but we remain vigilant and are working toward improving employment opportunities for Latinos across the country.