Latino unemployment is at its lowest in 4 years, according to the Department of Labor. (Photo/Getty Images)

Latino unemployment lowest in 4 years

The Department of Labor released employment statistics today.  Latino unemployment is at 9.6 percent, the lowest number since December 2008, according to Adriana Kugler, Chief Economist for the Department of Labor.

Latino unemployment is still higher than overall U.S. unemployment, which is now at 7.8 percent.  Labor Secretary Hilda Solis said today that overall, the nation’s lower unemployment numbers are a  good sign.

“For nearly three years, steady gains have occurred across different sectors of the economy, and December finishes a strong year of consistent growth with average increases of about 160,000 private sector jobs per month in 2012,” says Solis.

The National Council of La Raza released a Montlhly Latino Employment Report today. It stated that though 604,000 more Latinos were working and 191,000 fewer Latinos were unemployed at the end of 2012 compared to the beginning of the year, there was a high number of Latinos not in the labor force, over 400,000.  The report says that apart from school attendance or parenting, “some portion of this population is made up of discouraged workers who have given up the job search” – a factor to consider as one looks at the overall jobs picture.

Kugler, however, says Labor Department Data shows “the labor force participation for Latinos has stayed pretty steady through 2012, and it has fallen 3/10s of a percent since January of 2012.”

While there has been progress in the employment situation, Secretary Solis told NBC Latino in October there is still working to be done.

“We are not totally out of the woods, we have more to do, and we remain committed to making sure Latinos get the appropriate training to get credentialed into new careers,” said Solis.

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