The American economy added 151,000 news jobs in January, according to the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While this is net positive growth in the first month of the new year, it’s almost half what was created in December 2015, which saw 292,000 jobs added. As of January 2016, nearly 25 million Latinos were employed.
The unemployment rate also saw a slim decline from 5 percent to 4.9 percent. However, the unemployment rate among Latino workers dipped considerably, falling to 5.9 percent from 6.3 percent. That continued decline continues a trend which sees the Latino community’s unemployment numbers falling closer and closer in line with that of the general population.
The food services industry continued to be a primary source of employment among Latinos, adding 47,000 jobs in January and 380,000 for all of 2015. Although Latinos make up only 16 percent of the population, they account for approximately 25 percent of food service workers. This overrepresentation highlights issues with wage stagnation felt by workers across the country. The industry’s ability to pay less than minimum wage due to tipping also raises concerns for Latinos, as well as other food service workers, who often struggle to maintain stable levels of income.
For these job gains to translate into sustained economic well-being for Latinos across the country, the United States must address its failure to maintain wages that fall in line with cost of living and the rate of inflation. As workers are unable to stretch their pay as far as they were previously, we invite economic instability and a possible return to recession. January’s job gains should not be discounted, but they should also motivate the country to acknowledge the underlying issues in the labor market.
Read the entire jobs report below or download it here.