Unemployment Rises Sharply Among Latino Immigrants in 2008

The current recession is having an especially severe impact on employment prospects for immigrant Hispanics, according to an analysis of the latest Census Bureau data by the Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center. The unemployment rate for foreign-born Hispanics increased from 5.1% to 8.0%, or by 2.9 percentage points, from the fourth quarter of 2007 to the fourth quarter of 2008. During this same time period, the unemployment rate for all persons in the labor market increased from 4.6% to 6.6%, or by 2.0 percentage points.

Among immigrant Latinos, the share of the working-age population (16 and older) that is employed fell by 2.8 percentage points, from 67.5% in the fourth quarter of 2007 to 64.7% in the fourth quarter of 2008.1 Among all persons of working age, the employment rate decreased by 1.6 percentage points, from 63.2% to 61.6%, in the first year of the recession.

The recession has also had a strong negative effect on blacks and native-born Hispanics in the labor market. Blacks are currently the only major racial and ethnic group whose unemployment rate is in double digits, 11.5% in the fourth quarter of 2008. Native-born Hispanics had the second highest rate of unemployment (9.5%) in the fourth quarter of 2008. However, changes in the employment rate and other indicators of labor market activity during the recession have been less severe for them than for foreign-born Hispanics.

Read the full report Unemployment Rises Sharply Among Latino Immigrants in 2008 on the Pew Hispanic Center's Web site.

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