Unemployment Among Hispanics in US Hits New Record Low in July

August 3, 2018 Updated: October 5, 2018    

Unemployment for Hispanic workers in the United States fell to a new record-low rate of 4.5 percent in July, surpassing the record 4.6 percent set just a month earlier.

The overall unemployment rate inched down to 3.9 percent from 4 percent in June, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported.

Asian unemployment dropped to 3.1 percent while black unemployment, still hovering around historical lows, increased slightly to 6.6 percent.

“The American economy is BOOMING under [President] Trump’s leadership,” Vice President Mike Pence wrote on Twitter on Aug. 3. “Since Election Day 2016, we have created 3.8 million new jobs. Unemployment for African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, and Asian-Americans has reached an all-time low. America is back!”

While President Donald Trump often touts the Hispanic unemployment numbers, which currently are at the lowest level  since the BLS started to track the statistic in 1973, major Spanish-language news media outlets Univision and Telemundo omitted the historical significance of the numbers from their reports both for June and July. .

Unemployment for white workers also dropped in July—to 3.4 percent—a rate unseen since the N.Y. Yankees and N.Y. Mets faced off in the World Series in October 2000. The only time in recorded history the rate was lower was in the 1960s.

“Today marks just the 8th time since 1970 that unemployment has fallen below 4% – with 3 of those occasions occurring in 2018!” Ivanka Trump, daughter and senior adviser to the president, wrote in an Aug. 3 tweet.

The economy added 157,000 jobs in July, which was almost 30,000 fewer than expected. On the other hand, job growth for June and May has been revised up by 59,000(to 268,000 and 248,000, respectively).

Workers install a water tank on a building on Lexington Ave in New York City on May 9, 2018. (Hector Retamal/AFP/Getty Images)
Workers install a water tank on a building on Lexington Ave in New York City on May 9, 2018. (Hector Retamal/AFP/Getty Images)

“Today’s #JobsReport shows the continued strength of our economy. [The president] is keeping his promise to restore our economy and put Americans back to work,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in an Aug. 3 message on Twitter.

The United States currently has more jobs available than people who are considered unemployed.

But the unemployment rate is an incomplete indicator, as it excludes people who didn’t look for work in the preceding four weeks. The BLS also provides a rate that counts people who looked for work in the past 12 months, as well as people who work part-time but want a full-time job. That rate dropped to 7.5 percent in July—the lowest since May 2001.

Overall, there were nearly 5.5 million people in July who wanted a job but weren’t counted as unemployed, which is a drop from over 5.7 million a year ago.

“People are coming off the sidelines,” Ivanka Trump said in an Aug. 2 interview with Axios.

The president’s daughter and senior adviser will be overseeing the National Council for the American Worker, a cross-department body started in July by the president to help train and retrain Americans for the available jobs.

As the labor market heats up, employers face a growing challenge in recruiting and keeping talent. The administration is attempting to help the situation by promoting apprenticeships, retraining, and vocational education.

Wage growth has been gradually catching up with a 2.9 percent increase in the 12 months that ended in June. That’s up from 2.4 percent the year before.

Wage growth is being offset by rising prices of consumer goods. Two inflation indicators, the Consumer Price Index and Personal Consumption Expenditures, posted annual rates of 2.9 and 2.2 percent, respectively, significantly fueled by an increase in oil prices over the past year. Oil prices affect the prices of both gas and heating oil.

Hispanics are increasingly approving of Trump. The president’s approval rating among Hispanics went up four points in July, according to a Harvard/Harris poll. In June, 6.7 percent of registered Hispanic voters approved of Trump’s job performance. That number rose to 10.7 in July.

The president’s approval among black voters is also on the rise. Since last year, the number of likely black voters who approve of Trump’s job performance has almost doubled, according to Rasmussen. Around this time last year, 15 percent of black voters approved of Trump. That number was 29 percent as of Aug. 3. Rasmussen was the most accurate major poll in predicting the outcome of the 2016 presidential race.

Optimistic economic indicators strengthen Trump’s hand ahead of the midterm elections in November. Republicans need to keep their majorities in both the House and the Senate in order to keep rolling out Trump’s agenda.

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