That's the good news.
The bad news: the Household survey revealed a stunning 806,000 decline in jobs - the largest drop since August 2001. As has been the case throughout most of the Bush years, non-Hispanics bore the brunt of December's carnage:
But last year also saw a subtle but significant change in ethnic employment trends: Over the course of 2008 the percentage drop in Hispanic employment exceeded - admittedly, by the slightest of margins - that of non-Hispanics. Here are the job losses, December 2007 to December 2008:
So calendar year 2008 represents a comeuppance of sorts, as Hispanics saw their jobs disappear at about the same rate as non-Hispanics. (Misery loves company!)
The Hispanic unemployment rate, a seasonally adjusted 9.2 percent in December, was a full 3 percentage points above the comparable year-ago figure (6.2 percent.) Hispanic unemployment would have grown even faster were if not for the withdrawal of Hispanic immigrants from the U.S. labor force.
In the third quarter of 2008, 71.3% of Latino immigrant workers were either employed or actively seeking work, compared with 72.4% in the same quarter a year earlier, according to a study released in December by the Pew Hispanic Center.Â The drop in labor market activity was about twice as high among immigrants from Mexico.
The 1.1-percentage-point drop "marks a substantial decrease in the labor-market participation of Latino immigrants", according to Rakesh Kochhar, the Pew economist who prepared the report.
Since 2003 the labor force participation rate—the employed or job-seeking share of the population—among foreign-born Hispanics had been consistently on the rise, according to the Pew report.
Among Hispanic immigrants who entered the U.S. between 1990 and 1999, the survey found that 217,000 quit the labor force between the third quarter of 2007 and the third quarter of 2008. "These trends suggest that at least some foreign-born Latinos are not only leaving the labor force but, perhaps, also returning to their countries of origin," the report said.
Although the Pew study studiously avoids mentions "illegal aliens", it confirms what we have reportedÂ before: self-deportation is not merely a possibility, but is actually happening.