Latino Unemployment Rate Lowest in Nearly Four Years, Falls to 9.9 Pct

Obama responds to September jobless rate which fell to 7.8%. The lowest since the president took office.


The U.S. unemployment rate for Latinos fell to 9.9 percent in September, the lowest jobless rate in nearly four years, and the lowest level since President Barack Obama first took office.

Latino unemployment has hit a 45 month low as September marks the first time the Latino jobless rate has fallen below 10 percent since December of 2008, when it was 9.4 percent.

The number of unemployed Hispanics has dropped by nearly 20 percent since the number of unemployed Latinos hit its peak at over 3 million in November 2010.

If not for all the people who have simply dropped out of the labor force, the real unemployment rate would be closer to 11 percent.

- Mitt Romney, Republican Nominee

According to the report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, September's Latino unemployment rate declined from 10.2 percent in August and is in line with the overall downward national trend for the jobless rate, which fell to 7.8 percent, down from 8.1 percent,--a 44-month low. The number of unemployed Americans is now 12.1 million, the fewest since January 2009. 

The BLS report indicates that 2.4 million Latinos are currently unemployed. 

That number is down by 60,000, or 2.4 percent, from August, and down 176,000, or about 7 percent, from September, 2011.

However, job fields where Latinos are disproportionately represented did not improve; in fact, manufacturing went down.

Manufacturing employment edged down in September (-16,000), according to the report. On net jobs, manufacturing employment has been unchanged since April.

At a campaign stop in Fairfax, Va. on Friday, Obama -- whose campaign suffered a setback Wednesday because of what was seen as his poor performance in the first presidential debate -- did not waste time in touting the report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

"Today’s a reminder that this country has come too far to turn back now," Obama told the cheering crowd. "We made too much progress to turn to the policies that caused the crisis in the first place."

Meanwhile, the Mitt Romney camp and skeptics questioned the conclusions of the unemployment report, pointing out that the unemployment rate nationally has remained at or above 7.8 percent for 45 straight months.

Romney responded to the September report at a campaign rally in Abingdon, Virginia Friday.

"There were fewer new jobs created this month than last month," Romney said. "The reason [the unemployment rate] has come down is primarily due to the fact that more and more people have just stopped looking for work."

A Romney statement was also issued on the report.

"This is not what a real recovery looks like," the Romney statement said. "If not for all the people who have simply dropped out of the labor force, the real unemployment rate would be closer to 11 percent."

Outside the Mitt Romney camp skeptics, including the former Congressional Budget Office director Doug Holtz-Eakin, point out the huge disconnect between  the modest number of new jobs reported and the significant decrease in the unemployment rate. The number of unemployed dropped by 456,000 but only 114,000 jobs were added.

"This must be an anomaly," Holtz-Eakin said to Fox News in a snap analysis of the numbers. "It is out of line with any of the other data.."

Skeptics also point out that the report reflected an uptick in part-time jobs and the number of self-employed. 

The Labor Department, based on a broad survey of employers, said 114,000 jobs were added in September. But the unemployment rate itself is based on a separate "household survey," which showed a whopping 873,000 new jobs in September.

The Latino unemployment rate has not dipped below 7.8 percent since July 2008.

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Bryan Llenas currently serves as a New York-based correspondent for Fox News Channel (FNC). Click here for more information on Bryan Llenas. Follow him on Twitter @BryanLlenas.