Last week, the US employment report was rolled out and, on the surface, the figures look good for the Latino community living in the US.
The report documents a 0.2% drop in Latino unemployment in the past month. The figure has dropped from 9.2% in March 2013 to 9.0% in April 2013, but the data is deceiving, according to Alicia Criado from the National Council of La Raza (NCLR).
The US Latino unemployment rate might well be the lowest it has been since November 2008, when it dropped to an impressive 8.6%, but a closer inspection of the fine details reveals a number of concerns.
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In defiance of the report, Criado rightly points out that 209,000 Latinos based in the US have actually just stopped looking for work and were, therefore, not included in the data used to generate the recent report on US employment. Criado is adamant that Latinos face lots of difficulties when it comes to finding employment in the US across a wide variety of industries and that the constant disappointment felt from unsuccessful job applications has forced 209,000 of them to simply stop trying.
The NCLR also published its own monthly Latino report last week. This report delves a little deeper into the facts and figures relating to US Latino unemployment and reveals that unemployment levels, which specifically pertain to the Latino youth demographic, those individuals aged between 16 and 24, climbed to a shocking 18% this month – double the overall Latino unemployment rate recorded in the US government’s employment report. Unsurprisingly, Criado, and the team who work at the NCLR, want to see this discrepancy in the figures highlighted as a definite cause for concern.
When further analyzing the state of affairs regarding US unemployment as a whole, many people might be concerned to hear that during April 2013, even though 169,000 more jobs were made available in the US across a wide range of industries including business services, food services and bars, retail and healthcare, problems surrounding job shortage in the US are far from over. The report published by the NCLR reveals that with each new job advertised in the US at present, there are still three US citizens hoping to be employed in the role.
One of the main issues which places US Latinos at a distinct disadvantage in this competitive environment is education. Both the US government and the NCLR believe that one of the best ways of decreasing unemployment within the US Latino community relates directly to education and training. Both parties believe that more Latinos must be encouraged to get a college education in order to be able to compete against their peers for high-paying jobs. The question remains as to whether resources will be made available to bring about these changes and reduce unemployment within the coming 12 months.
Indeed, it is Criado’s hope that the next Secretary of Labor will regard investment in job training and education as a real priority for US Latino workers. This, coupled with a heavy focus on health and safety in the workplace, is for Criado two of the most important areas in which the US government needs to invest if it is really serious about reducing Latino unemployment rates in the US and helping Latino workers reach their true potential.