The longest jobs recession since World War II is getting even worse for Latinos. New figures are out yesterday indicate that for the first time in a year Hispanics have seen a rise in unemployment.
According to new data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for Latinos increased from 10.5 percent to 10.7 percent.
While overall job creation continues to take hold and the total rate of unemployment remains steady, Latinos continue to suffer high rates of joblessness that are more than two points above the national average.
A recent Fox News Latino poll shows that nearly 50 percent of Hispanic voters rate the economy as their number-one issue. And though we’ve seen growth in the past few months, minorities continue to take the brunt of the storm in a bad economic climate. Yet 58 percent of Latinos still approve of President Obama’s handling of the economy.
President Obama will tout the latest job figures as a sign that his economic policies are working and that he deserves re-election for a second term. But what the president can’t explain is why job growth remains stubbornly low for a recession that he declared over in 2009.
Even the Economic Policy Institute – a center-left think tank – states that the U.S. economy needs to add 400,000 jobs per month until 2014 to return to pre-recession employment levels. At the rate we are adding jobs now, we will have difficulty just keeping up with new people entering the work force.
Our economy’s anemic growth is not being helped by the administration’s failure to tackle the debt crisis, which threatens to cripple our economy (the president made only one reference to debt in his State of the Union address). Failure to create serious reform on entitlements also jeopardizes the country’s fiscal future, which could leave minorities further behind in this jobless recovery.
An even weaker economy will threaten Latinos the most. According to a study conducted by the Pew Hispanic Center, 75 percent of Latinos said that their personal finances are in ‘fair’ or ‘poor’ shape. And since 2006, Latinos have seen the largest increase in poverty rates out of any other ethnic group – a disturbing trend considering that they will be a third of the U.S. population by 2020.
Last July, President Obama sought to allay the fears of Hispanic voters in remarks to the National Council of La Raza. He stated: “I don't need to tell you Latino unemployment is painfully high. And there’s no doubt that this economy has not recovered as fast as it needs to. The truth is it’s going to take more time. “
Well Mr. President, we are running out of time.
Alexis Garcia is a political producer and correspondent for PJTV.com. She also worked as a communications aide for the Giuliani and McCain-Palin 2008 presidential campaigns.