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Biden’s Misleading Claim About Latino Unemployment

Para leer en español, vea esta traducción de Google Translate.

Under President Joe Biden, the Latino unemployment rate reached a low of 3.9% in September 2022 — the lowest rate since September 2019. But Biden recently said that the rate under his presidency was the lowest in “a long, long time.”

Biden made the misleading claim while making an appeal to Latino voters at a campaign event in Phoenix, Arizona, on March 19. He said he won in 2020 with their support and will need them again to defeat former President Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, in a general election rematch.

“Look, I want to remind folks, because we turned out in 2020, we achieved the lowest unemployment rate for Latinos in a long, long time,” Biden said, according to an NBC News video and White House transcript.

However, in this case, “a long, long time” is just three years.

Initially, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the unemployment rate for Latinos was 3.8% in September 2022, which the Labor Department said was the lowest rate since 1973, when the BLS started tracking the statistic. BLS defines the unemployed as people who don’t have a job but have looked for one in the prior four weeks.

But the first monthly estimates from the BLS are preliminary and subject to change. The agency later revised its estimate of the unemployment rate for that month to 3.9% – the same as the rate had been in September 2019, during the Trump administration.

Biden’s claim that it was the lowest rate “in a long, long time” may have given his audience the impression he was referring to a much longer period.

Besides, as of February, the unemployment rate for Latinos was an estimated 5%, for the third consecutive month, according to the most recent BLS data. That’s the highest it has been since it was 5.4% in February 2023.

On the other hand, the 5% unemployment rate is lower than the rate of 8.5% at the start of Biden’s presidency in January 2021, when the economy was still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. Just prior to the pandemic, the rate had been 4.3% in February 2020.

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