The numbers released last Friday (Feb. 6) by the U.S. Department of Labor are slightly misleading. The slight uptick in the unemployment rate, from 5.6 to 5.7, is a good sign, since it means more Americans are looking for work and therefore counted as “unemployed.”
As Fox News Latino reports, the new data is also somewhat murky — at least when it comes to Latinos. Unemployment for that segment of the population rose .2 percent from December 2014, which means it now stands at 6.7 percent, one percentage point above the national average.
Zeroing in on Hispanics aged 16 to 19, the unemployment rate is 22 percent — roughly three percent higher than for the overall U.S. teen population.
Not surprisingly, experts disagree on what it all means. In a press release, Republican National Committee director of Hispanic media Ruth Guerra took aim at policies her party claims have hurt the country.
“Today’s jobs report is another unfortunate reminder that Hispanics continue to struggle to find jobs in President Obama’s economy,” Guerra said. “With Hispanic unemployment consistently higher than the national average, it’s clear that President Obama’s tax and spend policies of the past six years fail to benefit all Americans.”
Pundits on the other side of the aisle might point out that Latino unemployment has fallen a great deal since January 2014, when it stood at 8 percent. As Fox News Latino reports, 1.4 million Latinos have landed jobs in the last year.
Many economists believe that now, more than five years after the Great Recession ended, the economy is finally “enjoying the hiring and pay growth typical of a healthy recovery,” as Fox reports. Over the last three months, job gains have averaged 336,000 — the highest three-month increase in 17 years.
“The labor market was about the last thing to recover from the Great Recession, and in the last six months it has picked up steam,” said Credit Union National Association chief economist Bill Hampel. “The benefits for the middle class are now solidifying.”