The national unemployment rate has been making news ever since the economic downturn of 2008. But, joblessness doesn’t affect all groups equally.
This month, the Bureau of Labor and Statistics released a report showing that while the national average for unemployment is 8.2 percent, the rate is 11 percent for Latinos. For African-American, the unemployment rate is even higher at 13 percent.
Even more sobering are the rates of long term unemployment (being out of a job for more than six months), which rose to 5.4 million.
Job growth will certainly play an important role in the upcoming election especially for Latinos. Perhaps it is because Hispanics are disproportionately affected by unemployment that they also cite jobs and the economy as the issues they most care about.
Shortly after the release of the report, Romney came out quickly to call the figures “devastating,” while Obama headed for Minnesota to talk about expanding job opportunities for veterans. We can expect to see presidential ads, speeches, and debates pivot around the job issue from here until November.
In the midst of less than promising news, the ray of hope for Obama is that unemployment rates have dropped sharply in several swing states. No one can call the election just yet.