The November unemployment rate fell for Hispanic workers and black women

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A now hiring sign at a Dunkin’ restaurant on September 21, 2021 in Hallandale, Florida.

Joe Radle | Getty Images

The unemployment rate in the US for Hispanic workers and black women declined in November, while the overall rate was stable.

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

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

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

However, the US reported strong growth in jobs in November, indicating that the Federal Reserve may have to go beyond efforts to cool the labor market. In total, the US added 263,000 jobs last month. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had expected 200,000 new jobs.

“Yes this report really means that the Federal Reserve is going to continue on an aggressive path to try to get the unemployment rate number up really, really high,” said Michelle Holder, senior -a distinguished fellow at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth.

“And so, isn’t that ultimately necessarily good for black and Latinx workers, because we know in times of recession, those are the most disaffected workers. “

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

At the same time, strong job gains in health care and government fueled the decline in the unemployment rate among Black women.

To be sure, the lowest unemployment rates for both groups are down in part because more Hispanic workers and black women are leaving the workforce, a trend that is exacerbated by the pandemic, according to Holder.

Hispanic workers saw their labor force participation rate drop to 65.7%, down from 66.1%. The rate for black women fell to 61.8%, down from 62.2% in October.

Meanwhile, the strong headline numbers in the November jobs report mask some weakness in household survey data, according to Elise Gould, senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute.

Overall, data showing the number of people employed in the US, the employment-to-population ratio, and participation rates have all been lower for at least three straight months.

If the housing survey is a better measure of what’s happening, “it really indicates a lot more economic distress,” Gould said. “And so that means people are actually losing their jobs and they’re hurting right now.”

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