Hispanic Unemployment Breaks Another Record Low, Not Mentioned by Telemundo, Univision

March 8, 2019 Updated: March 11, 2019

Hispanic unemployment broke another record low in February, the fourth time since June. Neither of the major Spanish-language news networks in the country—Telemundo and Univision—reported the news to its target audience, based on a search of their websites.

Hispanic unemployment dropped from 4.9 to 4.3 percent between January and February, following the previous trend of historically low unemployment for the group and in general, which was somewhat broken in January by the temporary increase in furloughed workers due to the partial government shutdown.

Hispanic Americans have enjoyed unemployment below 5 percent in just 17 months of the data stretching back to 1973—16 of those months were in the past two years.

Telemundo and Univision both ran articles on the unemployment data, but neither mentioned the historical significance of the Hispanic rate. The Telemundo article didn’t mention the Hispanic rate at all.

“We report the unemployment figures on a regular basis, including the Hispanic statistics,” Telemundo spokesman Camilo Pino said in an email. “At this stage I do not know if we will be reporting the story on our nightly newscast, as it is an editorial decision based on the specific priorities of the day’s news cycle.”

Telemundo did report on the previous record low Hispanic unemployment of December.

Univision responded to a request for comment, but didn’t provide one by the publication deadline.

The overall unemployment rate in February was 3.8 percent, keeping the 1-year and 2-year average unemployment at its best levels since the 1970s.

Job Contradiction

The American economy has hummed along at a solid pace in recent years, spurred by the election of President Donald Trump, who was expected during his campaign for president to set a pro-business policy. He’s delivered on several accounts, including cutting taxes and regulations and renegotiating a new trade deal with Canada and Mexico.

Yet the economy only added 20,000 jobs in February, based on data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on March 8.

That was not only the lowest growth since September 2017, but also far cry from the estimate of the ADP human resources company.

The ADP estimated private job growth of 183,000 in February, based on payroll data drawn from its more than 400,000 clients. It’s numbers commonly differ from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’, but rarely this much.

“Job growth is weakening, but the [BLS] February employment number overstates the case,” ADP spokeswoman Allyce Hackmann said in an email.

“The average gain in January and February was close to 160,000 jobs. This is a good representation of the reality in the job market. There are several factors impacting the job market today and we are beginning to see a slowdown in employment growth. ADP’s estimated February employment gain of just over 180,000 is likely closer to what is actually happening in the job market.”

Indeed, BLS has rarely reported a figure this low, and if so, it’s usually a one-month fluke.

Still, the number somewhat spooked the stock market, with the S&P 500 index down 0.2 percent on March 8 as of 5 p.m., despite a recovery in afternoon trading.

The BLS revised its December and January payroll estimates up by a combined 12,000 jobs, bringing the 3-month average job growth to 186,000.

Update: The article was updated with more information on Telemudo’s reporting on Hispanic unemployment as well as on Univision’s response to a request for comment. The headline was updated to more accurately reflect the facts of the article.

Follow Petr on Twitter: @petrsvab
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