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Latino Job Growth Slowing Down to a Slump, Says Labor Report

The slump in the U.S. real estate market and the subprime mortgage crisis has had its effect on Latino workers, according to a report released June 4 by the Pew Hispanic Center.

In “Latino Labor Report, 2008: Construction Reverses Job Growth for Latinos,”  Rakesh Kochhar says foreign-born Hispanics, especially Mexican immigrants and recent arrivals, “have been hurt the most by the slump in the construction industry.”

Among the major findings of the report, analyzed from the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Census Bureau, the Hispanic unemployment rate increased from 6.1 percent in the first quarter of 2007 to 7.3 percent in the first quarter of 2008. For foreign-born Latinos, it leapfrogged from 5.5 percent to 7.5 percent in the same period, compared to an increase from 6.7 percent to 6.9 percent in the unemployment rate for native-born Latinos.  

Kochhar says that even as home building slowed down in 2006, Hispanics found nearly 300,000 new jobs in the construction industry between the first quarters of 2006 and 2007. But the full impact of the downturn in construction was felt in 2007 as the industry let go of 703,000 workers.

“The ongoing slump in construction has wiped out those gains, virtually in their entirety, over the past year,” he says.

Other findings in the report show that Hispanic women witnessed greater increases in unemployment than did Hispanic men. Some 130,000 more Latino women became unemployed in 2007 and their unemployment rate increased from 5.6 percent to 7 percent.

Latino construction workers suffered most from the decline in wages, according to the report. Their earnings tumbled in 2007 with a loss of 6.9 percent for all Hispanics and 4 percent for foreign-born Hispanics.

For a full version of the report online, go to

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