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In dismal jobs report, unemployment rate of minority workers rises

June 01, 2012|By Ricardo Lopez and Don Lee
  • Job seekers gather Thursday at the 11th annual Skid Row Career Fair in Los Angeles. U.S. employers created 69,000 jobs in May, the fewest in a year, and the unemployment rate ticked up.
Job seekers gather Thursday at the 11th annual Skid Row Career Fair in Los… (Damian Dovarganes/Associated…)

Los Angeles and Washington — Friday's dismal job report  included some bleak figures for black and Latino workers, which were harder hit by the economic recession and continue to struggle in regaining their footing in the labor market.

Black unemployment now stands at 13.6%, up from 13% the month before; for Latinos, the unemployment rate rose to 11% from 10.3% in April.

Employers added just 69,000 jobs last month, less than half of what analysts were predicting. Moreover, the Labor Department revised previous job gains for the prior two months. The unemployment rate rose by a notch to 8.2%.

Steven Pitts, a UC Berkeley economist who studies black unemployment, said the weak job growth will likely trigger fears of a slowdown and discourage those seeking work. 

"The current path is not sustainable if we want a good future for our workers," Pitts said. "No one can say anything good about these numbers."

Industries that lost jobs included construction, down 28,000 jobs, and government, which lost 13,000.

Hiring slowed in manufacturing, which had been adding an average of 42,000 jobs a month in the first quarter.

The only major bright spots were in transportation and warehousing, which added 36,000 jobs last month, and in healthcare and social-assistance businesses, which beefed up payrolls by 34,000.

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