The November unemployment charge fell for Hispanic employees and black ladies

A “Now Hiring” sign at a Dunkin’ restaurant on September 21, 2021 in Hallandale, Florida.

Joe Raedle | Getty Images

The US unemployment rate fell in November for Hispanic workers and black women while the overall rate remained stable.

Hispanic workers saw unemployment fall to 3.9% last month from 4.2% in October, according to the Labor Department on Friday. Unemployment among Hispanic males fell from 3.8% to 3.5% and among females from 3.7% to 3.6%. Hispanic youth unemployment (16-19) improved from 12.3% to 11.2%.

Black unemployment fell from 5.9% to 5.7%. It fell more sharply among black women, from 5.8% to 5.2%. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate among black males rose to 5.4% from 5.3%. Black youth unemployment worsened from 16.5% to 16.8%.

Overall, the US unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.7% in November, the same level as October and in line with expectations.

Still, the US reported strong job growth in November, suggesting the Federal Reserve may need to go further in its efforts to cool the job market. A total of 263,000 jobs were created in the US last month. Economists polled by Dow Jones expected 200,000 new jobs.

“What this report really means is that the Federal Reserve will continue on its aggressive streak to openly try to keep increasing the unemployment count,” said Michelle Holder, a distinguished senior fellow at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth.

“And that’s not necessarily good for black and Hispanic workers in the end, because we know that in times of recession, these are the workers who are typically the most unhappy.”

Notable job gains in the leisure and hospitality sectors last month led to a drop in the unemployment rate among Hispanic workers, Holder said. Hispanic workers are overrepresented in the sector, which added 88,000 jobs in November.

Meanwhile, strong job gains in healthcare and government fueled the decline in the unemployment rate among black women.

Certainly, the lower unemployment rates for both groups have come down in part as more Hispanic workers and black women exit the workforce, a trend Holder said has been exacerbated by the pandemic.

The labor force participation rate of Hispanic workers fell from 66.1% to 65.7%. The rate for black women fell to 61.8% from 62.2% in October.

According to Elise Gould, senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute, the strong headline numbers in November’s jobs report masked some weaknesses in household survey data.

Overall, the data showing the number of people employed in the US, employment levels and participation rates are all down for at least three straight months.

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

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