So far, they are the only demographic group whose employment numbers have returned to pre-recession levels.
And, because Latinos account for a relatively small share of workers in the public sector, they aren’t bearing the brunt of deep cuts in government jobs.
While they make up only 15% of the country’s workforce, Latinos have racked up half the employment gains posted since the economy began adding jobs in early 2010, Labor Department data showed.
The improving labor market for Latinos, a key voting bloc, could boost President Obama‘s political fortunes in the fall. They backed Obama heavily in 2008, but many became disgruntled over recession-induced job losses, a top concern among Latinos, and his handling of immigration issues.
Among registered Latino voters, 54% approved of the president’s handling of his job as of late last year, down from 63% a year earlier, according to Pew Hispanic Center surveys. Among Latinos ages 18 to 29, the president’s approval rating took an even steeper fall.
A rosier jobs picture could turn that around.
So far, Latinos are the only demographic group whose employment numbers have returned to pre-recession levels. The latest Latino jobless rate of 10.5% remains higher than the overall rate of 8.3% for the nation and 7.4% for whites, partly reflecting their large immigrant population (foreign-born U.S. workers tend to have higher unemployment because of a variety of factors) as well as education and skill levels.
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