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Latest job report underscores the continued need for Affirmative Action policies

LatinaLista — As the nation begins the annual three-day celebration of Labor Day, today’s employment reality is nothing to celebrate.


For the first time since 1945, there was no job growth in a recorded month and unemployment is holding steady at 9.1 percent. This lack of job creation is fueling speculation from economists that the nation could be heading back, if we’re not already there, into another recession.

The Department of Labor’s release of the “Employment Situation August 2011” shows that whether or not economists agree if we’re in a recession, to blacks and Latinos it sure feels like it.

According to the Dept. of Labor report, blacks and Latinos are suffering the highest numbers of unemployment, with black unemployment the highest it’s been in 27 years.

…whites (8.0 percent), blacks (16.7 percent), and Hispanics (11.3 percent) showed little or no change in August. The jobless rate for Asians was 7.1 percent, not seasonally adjusted.

The acute disparity among the demographic groups points to an ugly reality that no one likes to talk about — discrimination in hiring.

While differences in skills and education can account for some of the difference, it can’t begin to make up for the wide gap between whites and blacks and whites and Latinos in the workplace.

If ever there was an argument that Affirmative Action is still needed, this is a good start.

Some other findings from today’s Employment Situation:

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) rose from 8.4 million to 8.8 million in August. These individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.

About 2.6 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force in August, up from 2.4 million a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey.

Health care employment rose by 30,000 in August. Ambulatory health care services and hospitals added 18,000 and 8,000 jobs, respectively. Over the past 12 months, health care employment has grown by 306,000.

Within professional and business services, computer systems design and related

services added 8,000 jobs in August. Employment in temporary help services

changed little over the month (+5,000) and has shown little movement on net so far this year.

Elsewhere in the private sector, employment in construction; trade, transportation, and utilities; financial activities; and leisure and hospitality changed little over the month.

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