Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Hispanic employment down in January after 2003 job gains

"The unemployment rate for Hispanics jumped to 7.3 percent in January, reversing a decline over the second half of 2003, according to a private analysis of government data."

"The January rate for Latinos was up from 6.6 percent in December, said the study released Monday by the Pew Hispanic Center, a Washington-based research group."

"Immigrant males, especially the most recently arrived, showed the greatest increase in employment over the last six months of 2003, and the construction industry accounted for over half of the total Latino job gains."

"But the report also said the decrease in the Hispanic unemployment rate in 2003 was also due to a large number of discouraged workers having given up trying to find work. Those workers are no longer considered 'participating in the labor force.'"

"Overall, there were 17.7 million employed Hispanics at the end of 2003, up 659,000 from end of 2002."

"By comparison, the number of employed non-Hispanics was much larger -121 million - but that number grew by just 371,000 during the same period."

"That trend suggests Latinos took a disproportionate share of new job opportunities last year, Kochhar said."

Associated Press

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