World

Latino unemployment stays under 7 percent for second month in a row

New President and CEO of the Hispanic Association of Corporate Responsibility, Cid Wilson, says Fortune 500 companies still operate like 'good old boys' clubs.

 

The Latino unemployment rate in October fell under 7 percent for the second month in a row, marking the first time that has happened since February of 2008.

The U.S. added 214,000 jobs in October, lowering the Hispanic unemployment rate to 6.8 percent from 6.9 percent and extending the healthiest pace of hiring in eight years.

Employers have now added at least 200,000 jobs for nine straight months, the longest such stretch since 1995. The burst of hiring lowered the nation's unemployment rate to 5.8 percent from 5.9 percent. It's lowest rate since July 2008.

The Labor Department also said 31,000 more jobs were added in August and September than it had previously estimated.

The number of Hispanic-Americans working and looking for work is 66.3 percent, a precipitous fall from the 10-year high of 69.6 percent in January 2007, but slightly higher than last month's 65.9 percent.

Along with the job gains, economic growth has accelerated this year. Yet despite the improvement, voters identified economic anxiety as their top concern in Tuesday's elections. That suggests the improvement hasn't yet been felt by many Americans.

Nearly 60 percent of voters said they thought the economy was stagnating or worsening. Only one-third saw it as improving.

The picture has still improved enough that the Federal Reserve announced last month that it was ending its bond purchase program, which had been intended to lower interest rates and stimulate economic growth.

At the same time, better hiring and growth have barely boosted paychecks for the vast majority of earners. Adjusted for inflation, average hourly pay rose just 0.3 percent over the 12 months that ended in September, according to government data.

And what wage gains have occurred have benefited mainly the wealthiest. Average income grew 10 percent from 2010 through 2013 for the wealthiest one-tenth of Americans, after adjusting for inflation, according to the Fed. For everyone else, incomes stagnated or declined.

Hispanics continue to have considerably lower incomes than African Americans, whites and Asians. In 2013, the median weekly earnings for full-time wage and salary Hispanics were $578 dollars which is lower than the $629 for blacks, compared with $802 for whites and $942 for Asians.

Analysts say the economic expansion remains strong enough to support the current pace of hiring. Over the past six months, the economy has grown at a 4.1 percent annual rate.

Based on reporting by The Associated Press.

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