The latest U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report, shows that black and Latino unemployment remain critically elevated and may present a political challenge for President Barack Obama as he seeks reelection.
While overall unemployment fell slightly in July to 8.1 percent from 8.3 percent the month before, black and Latino unemployment did not follow the same course. Latino unemployment climbed slight to 10.2 percent in July from 10 percent in June. And, the share of black workers seeking jobs but unable to find remained stagnant at 14.1 percent.
The economy did manage to create 96,000 in July. However, that figure is smaller than the number of new workers who entered the workforce. In short, July’s job market did not keep pace with population growth and left large shares of Latino and black job seekers without jobs and while also stranding other major groups of workers, according to federal data.
"Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men of all races and ethnicities (7.6 percent), adult women (7.3 percent), teenagers (24.6 percent), whites (7.2 percent), blacks (14.1 percent), and Hispanics (10.2 percent) showed little or no change in August. The jobless rate for Asians was 5.9 percent (not seasonally adjusted), little changed from a year earlier."
Beyond the unemployment rate, there are other indicators of growing economic distress for black and Latino households. It seems men are dropping out of the labor force faster than women, and more black and Latino men are without work than others. The twin phenomenon have pushed the male workforce participation rate to a new low unseen since the federal government began reporting this data in 1948 .
Though unemployment is a concern amongst most Americans, the situation is dire for black and Latino families and should be acknowledged and addressed by the President, Colorlines reported .
"Communities of color are mired in an economic depression. Yet the president struggles to publicly acknowledge it. The choice not to do so presents Obama with a political problem when he can least afford it," Colorlines’ Imara Jones wrote.
In order to claim a significant share of Latino votes in November, the Obama campaign must provide economic reasons to support the President, Colorlines reported.
Multiple polls have found that most Latino voters indicate that they plan to support Obama in November but are less eager to vote than they were in 2008 when Obama carried nearly 70 percent of the Latino vote.
"The bottom line is that in order to remain in the White House, the president needs to give this community a reason to show up at the polls. The number one issue for Latinos, like all Americans, is jobs and the economy," Jones reported.
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Latinos Face The Second Highest Unemployment Rate In The U.S.
In July, the national unemployment rate sat at<a href="http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm" target="_hplink"> 8.3 percent</a>, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The nation's Latino workers faced the <a href="http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t02.htm" target="_hplink">second highest unemployment rate</a> in the country, <a href="http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t03.htm" target="_hplink"> with 10.3 percent</a>, seeking work but unable to find it. Latino unemployment has become such a persistent problem that in July, Latino joblessness sat just 1 percent lower than it did during the same period a year ago. Other groups of workers are also struggling. <a href="http://" target="_hplink">Women over 20 continue to face a higher unemployment rate (10.5 percent) than men of the same age (8.2 percent).</a>
The Fastest Growing Occupations In The U.S.
In 2010, Hispanics made up <a href="http://www.bls.gov/ooh/about/projections-overview.htm#employment" target="_hplink">14.8 percent of the nation's workforce</a>, according to federal data. By 2020, that figure is projected to rise to 18.6 percent. Where will the jobs be? The 10 occupations expected to grow at the fastest pace by 2010: 1) Personal Care Aides (Jobs in health, beauty, and fitness) 2) Home Health Aides 3) Biomedical Engineers 4) Helpers--Brickmasons, Blockmasons, Stonemasons, and Tile and Marble Setters 5) Helpers--Carpenters 6) Veterinary Technologists and Technicians 7) Reinforcing Iron and Rebar Workers 8) Physical Therapist Assistants 9) Helpers--Pipelayers, Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters 10) Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners <a href="http://www.bls.gov/ooh/about/projections-overview.htm#employment" target="_hplink">Click here</a> to see a list of the 20 fastest-growing occupations on the Bureau of Labor Statistics website. (See Table 1)
Educational Needs For Fastest Growing Jobs
Sixteen of the 20 occupations expected to grow most rapidly by 2020, require a high school diploma or its equivalent. Four occupations that require less than a high school diploma rank near the top of this list. However, the median wages paid to these workers at the start of the decade lay between $19,000 and $28,000. Workers in other fast-growing occupations on the list, such as Biomedical Engineering, were paid much more. Biomedical Engineers, the nation's third fastest-growing group of workers, also enjoyed the highest median wage ($81, 540). Entering this field requires at least a Bachelor's degree. <a href="http://www.bls.gov/ooh/about/projections-overview.htm#employment" target="_hplink">Click here</a> to see wages and education data for all 20 occupations on the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics website. (See Table 1)
Most Profitable Occupations For Latinos
While <a href="http://www.bls.gov/ooh/about/projections-overview.htm#employment" target="_hplink">less than half of the 20 fastest growing occupations</a> are in the STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), studies have noted that these fields often prove to be the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/15/stem-majors-profitable-minority-students_n_1785021.html#slide=1394053" target="_hplink">most lucrative for minority students.</a> Biomedical Engineering anyone? <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/03/top-25-colleges-graduating-science-technology-engineering-math_n_1733086.html" target="_hplink">Click here</a> to view the 25 colleges producing the largest number of Latino graduates with STEM degrees.
More Latinos Are Enrolling In Higher Education Institutions
In August, a Pew Hispanic Center analysis of new Census Bureau data showed that in 2011, for the first time, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/20/hispanics-college-enrollment-largest-minority_n_1813655.html" target="_hplink"> Hispanics students made up the largest minority group on college campuses</a>. Over 2 million students ages 18 to 24 are enrolled two-year and four-year institutions. The same report showed that last year Hispanics also <a href="http://www.pewhispanic.org/2012/08/20/hispanic-student-enrollments-reach-new-highs-in-2011/" target="_hplink">made up a record 24 percent of all students</a> in public schools, pre-K through 12th grade.
But, Graduation Rates Continue To Lag For Latinos
Despite an increase in enrollment, the number of Hispanics graduating from two-year and four-year institutions lags behind that of other groups. In 2010, according to the Pew Hispanic Center, 112,000 associate degrees and 140,000 bachelor's degrees were awarded to Hispanics, compared to the 1.2 million bachelor's degrees given to non-Hispanic white students and the 165,000 bachelor's degrees awarded to non-Hispanic black students. Nevertheless, the number of Hispanics graduating from college continues to grow. In 2010 the number was seven times higher than it was four decades before. The number of Latino students graduating from high school has also grown, a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/20/hispanics-college-enrollment-largest-minority_n_1813655.html" target="_hplink">76 percent rise from 2010 to 2011.</a> However, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, the <a href="http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=16" target="_hplink">Hispanic high school dropout rate of 15.1 percent continues to outpace that of all other racial and ethnic groups. </a>
Latino Degree Pursuits Do Not Align With Workforce Needs
In spite of job and pay opportunities in STEM occupations, Hispanics represent a small number of those receiving degrees in this field. In 2010, <a href="http://edexcelencia.org/sites/default/files/exc2012fyw_stem_final_web_2.pdf" target="_hplink">Latinos were awarded 8 percent of all STEM certificates and degrees</a>, according to Excelencia in Education's 'Finding Your Workforce' series. The Washington, D.C-based research organization<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/03/top-25-colleges-graduating-science-technology-engineering-math_n_1733086.html" target="_hplink">aims to link Hispanic students with the needs of the U.S. workforce.</a> The top field graduating Latinos was Science, with 10,900 degrees conferred, followed by Engineering, with 9,930 degrees. The organization also found that in both health and STEM fields, Latinos were concentrated in lower paying jobs. In health <a href="http://edexcelencia.org/sites/default/files/exc2012fyw_health.pdf" target="_hplink">most were employed within support occupations</a> (such as health aides) rather than practitioners (like dentists and surgeons). In STEM fields, the <a href="http://edexcelencia.org/sites/default/files/exc2012fyw_stem_final_web_2.pdf" target="_hplink">majority were employed in service jobs (like telecommunications line installers and repairers)</a> rather than professional occupations (such as engineering managers).