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Access Washington – Weekly Immigration Update

New America Media, News Digest, Wendy Sefsaf Posted: Jun 09, 2008

Editor’s Note: NAM’s Access Washington Weekly Immigration Update is a column summarizing key developments in the immigration debate. This column is produced by New America Media’s Washington, D.C., office and is available in Spanish, Chinese and Korean.

Traducción al español

Report Shows More Hispanics Die From Job-Related Incidents Than Any Other Group

More Hispanics die on the job than other U.S. workers and the rate is highest among the foreign-born, according to a federal study released last week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The construction industry accounted for a third of the Hispanic deaths, declared the report, which reviewed more than 11,000 Hispanic work-related deaths between 1992 and 2006. About 95 percent were men.

From 2003 through 2006, the states that had the highest number of Hispanics had the most deaths on the job, the CDC found: 773 in California, 687 in Texas and 417 in Florida. The fatality rate however, was far higher in four states with small and recently arrived Latino populations. South Carolina was deadliest — 23 per 100,000 Hispanic workers over the three years examined, followed by Oklahoma, Georgia and Tennessee whose rates were about 10 per 100,000. Overall, the study found that the rate of U.S. work-related deaths had declined since 1992, even among Hispanics, who are the fastest-growing ethnic segment of the U.S. workforce.

Job Growth for Latino Workers Reverses

Due mainly to a slump in the construction industry, the unemployment rate for Hispanics in the United States rose to 6.5 percent in the first quarter of 2008, well above the 4.7 percent rate for all non-Hispanics according to the Pew Hispanic Center.

The spike in Hispanic unemployment has hit immigrants especially hard. Their unemployment rate was 7.5 percent in the first quarter of this year marking the first time since 2003 that a higher percentage of foreign-born Latinos was unemployed than native-born Latinos. Some 52.5 percent of working age Latinos (ages 16 and older) are immigrants. Latinos make up 14.2 percent of the U.S. labor force. Despite the disproportionate impact that the economic slowdown has had on immigrant Latino workers, there are no signs that they are leaving the U.S. labor market. Their labor force participation rate--that is, the percentage of the immigrant working-age Latino population either employed or actively seeking employment--has remained steady.

The latest trends in the labor market represent a dramatic reversal for Latino workers. Hispanics lost nearly 250,000 jobs over the past year because of the recent slump in the construction sector.

These findings emerge from the Pew Hispanic Center's analysis of the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Census Bureau. Most of the data are from the Current Population Survey, a monthly Census Bureau survey of approximately 60,000 households. Data from three monthly surveys were combined to create larger sample sizes and to conduct the analysis on a quarterly basis.

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