Hispanic Employees’ and Black Women’s Unemployment Declined in November While being Stable Overall

Hispanic Employees’ and Black Women’s Unemployment Declined in November While being Stable Overall

While the overall unemployment rate remained stable in November, it decreased among Hispanic workers and Black women.

According to the Labor Department on Friday (December 2, 2022), the jobless rate for Hispanic employees dropped from 4.2% in October to 3.9% last month. Male Hispanic unemployment decreased to 3.5% from 3.8%, and female Hispanic unemployment decreased to 3.6% from 3.7%. Hispanic youth unemployment (16-19) improved to 11.2% from 12.3%.

Black unemployment dropped to 5.7%, down from 5.9%. It fell more for Black women to 5.2%, from 5.8%. The unemployment rate for Black men increased from 5.3% to 5.4% in the meantime. The rate of black youth unemployment increased from 16.5% to 16.8%.

More generally, the 3.7% unemployment rate in the United States in November remained steady from October’s level and was in line with predictions.

Still, the U.S. reported strong jobs growth in November, signaling the Federal Reserve may have further to go in its efforts to cool the labor market. Overall, the U.S. added 263,000 jobs last month. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones were expecting 200,000 new jobs.

“What this report really means is that the Federal Reserve is going to continue along an aggressive track to try to bring the unemployment rate number frankly, up more,” said Michelle Holder, a distinguished senior fellow at Washington Center for Equitable Growth.

“And so, that in the end is not necessarily good for black and Latinx workers, because we know during recessionary periods, these are the workers that are normally the most disaffected.”

Notable jobs gains last month in the leisure and hospitality sector drove the decline in the unemployment rate among Hispanic workers, Holder said. Hispanic workers are overrepresented in the sector, which added 88,000 jobs in November.

Meanwhile, the fall in the jobless rate for Black women was fueled by significant job growth in the health care and government sectors.

Of course, the lower unemployment rates for both groups are also due in part to the fact that more Black women and Hispanic employees are leaving the workforce, a trend that Holder claims has been accelerated by the pandemic.

Hispanic workers saw their labor force participation rate fall to 65.7%, down from 66.1%. The rate for Black women dipped to 61.8%, down from 62.2% in October.

Meanwhile, according to Elise Gould, a senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute, the robust headline figures in the November jobs report conceal some weakness in the household survey data.

Overall, data showing the number of people employed in the U.S., the employment-population ratio, and participation rates have all ticked lower for at least three straight months.

If what’s happening in the household survey is a better measure, “then it’s actually showing far more economic distress,” Gould said. “And so that means that people are actually losing their jobs and they’re hurting right now.”