Latino Unemployment Rate Drops to Prerecession Levels

The unemployment rate for Hispanic men and women, those both U.S.-born and foreign-born, improves as official numbers put the segments at or below pre-recession levels. The 4.7 percent unemployment rate, reported for the second quarter of 2017, illustrates an improving labor market for Hispanics.

According to Pew Research Center, the unemployment rate returns U.S. Hispanic workers to a “historic low last seen more than a decade ago. At the same time, as stated in the center’s report on the topic, “other labor market measures show this group has not totally recovered from the Great Recession.”

Compared to the second quarter of 2017, the markers demonstrating the lack of recovery among Hispanic workers– labor force participation and employment-population ratio– fall short of what the statistics showed in the second quarter of 2006. The most recent 66.1 percent labor force participation rate and the 63 percent employment-population rate both reflect deficits of around 3 percent, compared to the period before the Great Recession.

U.S.-born Hispanics gained the most employment progress as the recovery continues. Among U.S.-born Hispanics, the current 5.6 percent unemployment rate actually comes in at below the pre-recession level of 6.2 percent in 2006. By comparison, Hispanic workers born outside the United States show an unemployment rate of 3.8 percent, the same as it was more than a decade ago.

The employment numbers, gathered by the U.S. Department of Labor, also reflect more progress among Hispanic women than among Hispanic men. The 56.4 percent labor participation rate and the employment-population ratio of 53.2 percent reported by the Labor Department in 2017 reflect similar numbers reported in 2006. Insofar as the numbers for Hispanic men, the labor force participation rate of 76 percent and the employment-population ratio of 72.9 both fall below their respective levels before the recession.

Overall, Hispanics make up 17 percent of the 2017 U.S. labor force, up from the 2006 number of 13.5 percent. The improving labor market and the trends reported around Hispanic employment mirrors current employment trends for U.S. workers overall.