Updated 03:09 AM EDT, Thu, May 23, 2019

Unemployment Dropping, but Latinos Aren't Feeling Relief

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The U.S. unemployment rate took a much-needed dip in October, but the positive effects aren't being felt in the Latino community.

There was an increase in non-farm employment of 204,000 jobs overall, last month.  However, from the previous month, the Latino unemployment rate rose only one-tenth of a percent.

"Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (7.0 percent), adult women (6.4 percent), teenagers (22.2 percent), whites (6.3 percent), blacks (13.1 percent), and Hispanics (9.1 percent showed little or no change in October," the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. "The jobless rate for Asians was 5.2 percent (not seasonally adjusted), little changed from a year earlier."

That still leaves Latinos down nine-tenths of a percent from October of last year. While jobs are being added overall, many point to the low pay scale of these additions as the reason why economic conditions aren't more indicative of a drop in unemployment.

Top increases came in the areas of leisure services, food and drink establishments, professional and technical services, manufacturing and healthcare.

In the areas of the top three job-creating sectors, much of the work being created pays at or slightly above minimum wage, encouraging many to renew the current call for the low-end wage to be increased to $10.50 per hour. This would still leave holders of most newly created positions at less than half the average wage in the U.S.

"In October, average hourly earnings for all employees on private non-farm payrolls edged up by two cents to $24.10,"  read a government report. “Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 52 cents, or 2.2 percent. In October, average hourly earnings of production and non-supervisory employees edged up by two cents to $20.26."

According to a petition currently circulating, the current rate of $7.25 per hour is simply not sustainable in today's economy.

"If a worker today is employed full time for a full 52-week year at a minimum wage job today, she or he is making $15,080," notes a petition filed on behalf of numerous university economists in support of the change. "This is 19 percent below the official poverty line for a family of three. Raising the minimum wage to $10.50 would deliver much needed living standard improvements to 45 million US workers and their families. The average age for these workers is 32 years old and they have been in the labor force for an average of 14 years."

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