The February monthly unemployment report presented by the Bureau of Labor Statistics came in at 4.7% for the general market with the Hispanic unemployment rate pegged at 5.6%. While the unemployment rate for Whites decreased to 4.1% the jobless rate for Latinos showed little change, decreasing by .5% to 5.6%. Last month general unemployment was at 4.8% and Hispanic unemployment at 5.1%
Black Americans maintained the highest unemployment rate in February at 8.1%.
The economy added 235,000 jobs, well above expectations, with the construction sector showing the most strength adding 58,000 jobs last month. This sector has added 177,000 jobs over the past six months. Latinos represent nearly 33% of the employees in the construction sector and were great beneficiaries of the hiring boom.
Optimism seems to be the driving factor, optimism that the Presidency of Donald Trump will remove barriers to business like environmental regulations and bring forth lower tax rates.
The share of working-age people who are actually working reached 60%, the highest since the recession of February 2009. This is month-77 of a labor market expansion having started under President Obama, who kicked it off in October 2010.
The U. S. average hourly wage rose 6% to $26.09/hour, a trend that is expected to continue as the labor pool shrinks. It is important to note that most minorities lag behind in terms of hourly wages compared to white men. In 2015, the average hourly wages for blacks was $14/hour and for Hispanic men $15/hour, compared with $21/hour for white men.
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