WASHINGTON – The unemployment rate among U.S. Latinos reached 12.9 percent, with nearly 3 million Hispanics out of work, according to statistics published Friday by the Labor Department.
Joblessness among Latinos in November stood at 12.7 percent.
“Unemployment remains at stubbornly elevated levels,” Labor Secretary Hilda Solis said at a roundtable with Latino reporters.
The Labor Department announced Friday that U.S. companies eliminated more jobs that expected, a total of 85,000, a figure that dampened hopes for a rapid recovery in the labor market.
Solis said, however, that fewer jobs were lost than in January last year.
“Remember that during this month last year some 700,000 jobs were lost,” Solis said, recalling that Latinos began to suffer the consequences of the economic crisis before the official onset of the recession in December 2007.
The sector most affected in December by the weak labor market was in goods production, where 81,000 jobs were lost, including 27,000 in manufacturing and 53,000 in construction.
On the other end of the balance sheet were sectors like health care, which defied the bad times with 35,000 hirings.
Temporary jobs, which increased by 46,000, remained at high levels in line with what has occurred in recent months, which suggests that employers are still not convinced that the economy is on a firm footing.
The labor market has become one of the biggest challenges for the presidency of Barack Obama and the Achilles heel of U.S. economic recovery, which got back on the road to growth in the third quarter of 2009 after the worst recession in the last 70 years.
More than 15 million Americans are currently jobless, a figure that rises to 17 million if those who have only part-time work are included.
When people who have stopped looking for work are added and those who only work half-days, the rate of unemployment goes up to 17.3 percent, just a tenth of a percent lower than the highest level in the last 16 years.
Statistics reveal a discouraging panorama for U.S. workers.
Companies cut a total of 4.2 million jobs in 2009 and the economy lost more than 8 million jobs since the recession began.
Official statistics show that there are 19,513,000 Hispanics with jobs and that their rate of employment is 67.1 percent. EFE