Improving Employment Rate Still Leaves Latinos Looking for Work

Recent statistics released by the U.S. Department of Labor reveal that the job market is steadily improving, with a total of 9.9 million people hired since February 2010. This report is particularly exciting as it demonstrates recent advances, with 209,000 people hired in July 2014 alone, marking the sixth straight month in which more than 200,000 people found new jobs. However, the research also shows that many people have yet to see the full effects of this progress, including Latinos and other minority groups.

Currently, the employment rate has risen from 6.1% in June to 6.2%, equating 9.7 million unemployed Americans. Of this number, 5.3% of whites were without jobs, a 0.9% increase from the start of the recession. Meanwhile, 11.4% of African Americans and 7.8% of Latinos were unemployed, a 2.4% and 1.5% increase from the beginning of the recession respectively. Additionally, statistics show that 20.2% of teenagers of all races are jobless as well.

Economists suggested that the slight increase in unemployment may be due to a number of people who were considered “out of the labor force” rather than unemployed. This group includes those who chose to further their education, take care of their children, or perform other tasks until the economy recovered, who are likely now attempting to re-enter the work force. However, a national poll conducted by the National Council of La Raza found that of 500 registered Latino voters, three out of five felt that they had not personally benefited from the recovery. Moreover, half of those surveyed reported that they had experienced difficulty paying their bills the past year, and 70% said they were currently concerned about their ability to cover basic expenses. According to the NCLR’s Monthly Latino Employment Report, as many as 15.1 million Latinos are unemployed, employed but claiming benefits, or no longer in the work force, compared to 23.3 million employed and sufficient.

With many Latino people now looking to re-enter the work force or find a new job after becoming unemployed, many will likely have to consider new industries, positions and professions in order to support themselves and their families. This is not entirely unusual: researchers now report that the average person can expect to change entire careers as many as 4 to 6 times over the course of their professional careers. And with the U.S. Department of Labor reporting hiring increases in the professional and business services, manufacturing, retail trade and construction industries, many Latinos may find themselves moving towards these fields to increase their chances of finding work.

However, another industry that may offer employment opportunities is the housing, real estate, and property management field, which is adding positions as the housing market improves. In the wake of the housing crisis, statistics suggest that the nation is slowly rebounding: the country is reportedly experiencing the fourth straight month of increasing sales in existing homes.

This improvement is believed to be the result of a number of factors, including low mortgage rates, increasing numbers of homes for sale, and an overall growing employment rate. New home construction is also reportedly increasing, as demonstrated by a seasonally-adjusted increase in building permits and construction activity. These increases in the housing market create opportunities not only for real estate agents and construction workers, but also property managers.

In early August, one of the country’s largest real estate brokerages, NRT LLC, a subsidiary of Realogy, acquired a Dallas-based property management firm, Dallas GTF, Inc. The property management firm administered over 1,600 residential properties in the Dallas area, increasing NRT’s managed properties to 20,000 across the U.S. While this foray into national property management is a fairly new one for NRT, the reason behind it is clear: with so many homeowners now putting their homes up for sale, selling a property can take a significant amount of time and effort. Property managers are able to take control of a home and provide a variety of services to help assist with the sale, from maintaining the property to scheduling showings for prospective buyers. New construction also offers opportunities to property management firms, as managed communities become increasingly popular in the suburban U.S. While progress still lags for minority groups, it is possible that these growing industries may offer the opportunities necessary to help Latino and African American communities experience the benefits of the improving economy.

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