Unemploment Hits Latinos

In the News:

In July, the unemployment rate for Illinois rose for the third straight month to 7.3 percent, up 2.2 percent from July of last year, according to the Illinois Department of Employment Security. The number of unemployed stood at 491,300, rising by 27,900 between June and July.

Behind the News:

Latinos may be feeling the squeeze more than most. According to Illinois Department of Employment Security, 10 out of 11 Illinois industries with more than 10,000 jobs that reported employment losses in July. Three industries hit hardest by the economic downturn during the past year were construction, manufacturing and finance–”the sectors which, according to census data, employed the highest percentages of Latinos than others.

Illinois has lost 10,000 construction, 5,500 manufacturing and 6,000 finance jobs in the last year, according to the Illinois Department of Employment Security. The construction sector lost 1,100 jobs in July alone, while the manufacturing sector lost 500. The financial sector lost 100 jobs in July.

Latinos represented 17 percent of those employed in construction and 23 percent in manufacturing, while they made up 9 percent in finance.

The “Latino Labor Report, 2008” by the Pew Hispanic Center, a nonpartisan research organization, reported that the recent negative trend in the construction industry has especially hurt foreign-born Latinos, who depend more on the industry jobs more than native-borns.

“We found most of the impact was on foreign-born workers and Mexican workers,” said Rakesh Kochhar, associate director for research at the Pew Hispanic Center. “The construction industry is very important to foreign-born Latinos.”

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