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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Cruz Off on Hispanic Unemployment

Sen. Ted Cruz said that Hispanic unemployment and Hispanic teen unemployment has gone up under President Obama. But the fact is that Hispanic unemployment is lower now than when Obama took office.

Cruz, a presidential candidate whose father immigrated to the United States from Cuba, said, during a cable television interview with Jorge Ramos of Fusion, that Hispanics had been “profoundly hurt by the Obama economy” and that the Latino media had neglected to report it.

Cruz, June 30: For example, Jorge. How many discussions have y’all had on air that, in the last six-and-a-half years, the Hispanic community has been profoundly hurt by the Obama economy? Hispanic unemployment has gone up. Hispanic teenage unemployment has gone up.

The Cruz campaign said that the senator meant that Hispanic unemployment has gone up at various times during Obama’s presidency. That’s true, but that amounts to cherry-picking. Overall, Hispanic unemployment, including teenage unemployment, is down from where it was when Obama was sworn in as president.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the total number of unemployed Hispanics was 1.7 million in June, down from 2.2 million in January 2009. And unemployment among Hispanic teens is also down slightly from 246,000 in January 2009 to 245,000 in June, the most recent month for these estimates.

The Hispanic unemployment rate, the preferred measure for unemployment because it factors in population, is also down under Obama. The Hispanic unemployment rate was 10.1 percent in January 2009. More than six years later, it was down to 6.6 percent in June.


Under Obama, the decline in the overall unemployment rate for Hispanics (3.5 percentage points) is greater than the declines for whites (2.5 percentage points), blacks (3.2 percentage points), Asians (2.3 percentage points) and the national average (2.5 percentage points).

The unemployment rate among Hispanic teens is down, too.

In January 2009, 23.8 percent of Hispanic teens between the ages of 16 and 19 were unemployed. As of June, the teen unemployment rate was 20.8 percent.

The decline is greater than the decrease for white teens (2.9 percentage points) and less than that for black teens (3.5 percentage points). BLS tables don’t include data for Asian teens.

However, we’ll note that the rates for Hispanics haven’t fully recovered from the last recession.

The Hispanic unemployment rate of 6.6 percent in June is still higher than the rate of 6.3 percent in December 2007, when the recession began. And the 20.8 percent unemployment rate for Hispanic teens is much higher than it was in December 2007 at 16.8 percent.

But, again, Hispanic unemployment still has gone down under Obama.

— D’Angelo Gore