Latinos experienced substantial gains in the U.S. labor market in 2003. The number of Hispanics added to the employment rolls was twice as high as in 2002, and unemployment eased downward. For the first time since January 2000, Latinos experienced increases in employment that consistently outpaced their population growth in the United States. The increase in the number of Latinos employed over the course of the year was nearly double the mark for non-Latinos, suggesting that Latinos took a disproportionate share of new job opportunities.
But, not all Hispanics benefited from these trends. Immigrant males, especially the most recently arrived, and those in the construction industry, showed by far the greatest increase in employment. Hispanic women and native-born Latinos, particularly those of the rapidly growing second generation, did not do nearly as well. A recovery for a wider segment of the Latino labor force may be some distance in the future.
These are among the key findings of a new Pew Hispanic Center report, “Latino Labor Report, 2003: Strong but Uneven Gains in Employment,” on the labor market developments for Hispanics in 2003. As President Bush and the Democratic contenders debate the state of the economy and their various economic remedies, this Pew Hispanic Center study looks at how immigrant and native-born Hispanics have fared in today's job market. The report examines a variety of trends in employment, wages, differences in job growth, changes since the 2001 recession, and prospects for recovery in 2004.
“The labor market is showing clear demand for Latino immigrants, but other segments of the Latino population are not faring as well,” said Roberto Suro, director of the Pew Hispanic Center. “Prospects for an ongoing recovery for Hispanics still remain uncertain unless economic growth is spread across more sectors of the economy.”
Rakesh Kochhar, a veteran economist and a senior research associate at the Center, wrote the report based on new data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census Bureau. Other major findings include:
The Pew Hispanic Center is a project of the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication. It was founded in 2001 with support from The Pew Charitable Trusts. The Center conducts non-partisan research that aims at improving understanding of the Hispanic population.