Hispanic Unemployment Rate Drops to Record Low 3.9 Percent

Hispanic Unemployment Rate Drops to Record Low 3.9 Percent
Construction workers are pictured in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on May 3, 2019. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Petr Svab
Americans out of a job are becoming a rarer sight as the unemployment rate reached 3.5 percent in September, down from 3.7 percent a month earlier. The rate for Hispanic Americans, in particular, fell to 3.9 percent—breaking the 4 percent mark for the first time since the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) began keeping such records in 1973.

Hispanics have made unprecedented inroads in the job market, as far as the data goes, in the past 16 months. The record-low unemployment rate has been rewritten six times since June 2018, when it hit 4.6 percent, breaking a record set in 2006.

The September data, however, set a new landmark. Hispanic men over the age of 20 enjoyed an unemployment rate of just 3 percent last month, on par with white men over 20 at 2.9 percent.
The Black unemployment rate was 5.5 percent in September, matching the historic low of the previous month.

The economy added 136,000 jobs, a slowdown from the previous two months where BLS revised its estimates up to 166,000 in August and 168,000 in July. The average monthly job growth in the past 12 months slightly inched up to 179,000, comfortably outpacing the 100,000 a month needed to keep up with population growth.

Wages stayed virtually unchanged in September, but have grown 2.9 percent over the past 12 months.

President Donald Trump cheered on the drop in unemployment on Twitter, taking a jab at the Democrats in the House of Representatives for their recent announcement of an impeachment inquiry against him.

“Unemployment Rate, at 3.5%, drops to a 50 YEAR LOW,” he said. “Wow America, lets impeach your President (even though he did nothing wrong!)”

The Trump Economy

Trump has taken credit for accelerated economic growth and progressively low unemployment under his watch. He owes part of his success to assuming office during an economic expansion, while boosting the boom by cutting taxes and regulations and instilling in businesses confidence in future economic prospects.

The job market has been among the most solid indicators in Trump’s economy, steamrolling skeptics with continued growth.

While some sectors, such as clothing and electronics stores and heavy construction, have lost thousands of jobs in the past year, other parts of the market have more than made up for the loss.

Even Trump’s trade war with China, which led to both countries imposing batteries of import tariffs, hasn’t stopped the jobs market from expanding.

Trump has been pressing China to open its market more to U.S. goods and to drop underhanded practices, such as forced technology transfer from foreign companies, theft of U.S. intellectual property, and currency manipulation.

Petr Svab is a reporter covering New York. Previously, he covered national topics including politics, economy, education, and law enforcement.
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