The economic recovery America is enjoying following the Great Recession hasn’t affected all segments of the population equally. According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s July 2014 job statistics, the unemployment rate for Hispanics is 7.8 percent — well above the national average of 6.2 percent.

These figures are worrisome to Department of Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, who said in a statement that we need to “use the momentum to allow more people to access the ladders of opportunity.”

“The sustained progress and continued momentum make me optimistic,” Perez said, according to VOXXI. “However, many Americans, despite their best efforts, are still struggling to climb out of the hole created by the Great Recession.”

Nationwide, the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) reports, there are 25.3 million Latinos in the civilian workforce. Of those, 23.3 million aged 16 or older have part- or full-time jobs.

While there’s some cause for optimism among Hispanic men aged 20 and older, whose unemployment rate stands at 6 percent, their female counterparts aren’t faring as well. From June to July, VOXXI reports, unemployment in that subset of the population rose from 7.2 to 7.7 percent.

What’s more, according to a recent NCLR/Latino Decisions poll, 78 percent of Latinos are concerned about job advancement, and 53 percent are worried a family member might lose his or her job. Half of those polled said they’re having trouble paying bills.

“Even though they are the fastest-growing segment of the American workforce, Hispanics still struggle with a number of economic issues related to poverty, unemployment and housing,” Latino Decisions and the NCLR said in a statement.

According to Hispanic Federation President Jose Calderon, Latino nonprofits are working hard to address the community’s job-training and educational deficits, but “more focus is required on funding schools and workforce development programs while investing in infrastructure, health care, the environment and other means to create jobs during these tough times.”

“While it’s great to see overall unemployment rates decreasing across the nation, clearly much more needs to be done to increase Latino employment and economic opportunities,” Calderon told VOXXI.

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