Sunday, September 20, 2020

Jump in Latino employment signals positive movement for resurging American economy

latino workers

As February drew to a close, posted job growth had reached 12 consecutive months – one full year – with over 200,000 jobs created on a monthly assessment, with nearly 300,000 jobs created last month alone. In that same 12 month window of observation, employment among Latinos increased 5 percent, marking a return to pre-recession numbers and outpacing all other racial and ethnic groups in terms of employment growth.

With around 14 percent of Latinos working in the construction industry immediately before the 2007 recession, the hit the industry took as the economy crashed was damaging to the community, but progress has been made since then. “More construction workers generates the need for more supervisors, more managers to coordinate them, more contractors to give them work,” said Giovanni Peri, an expert on the economic effects of immigration.

But with job production steadily rising in sectors like construction, where Latinos comprise around one quarter of the workforce, the wishful, parallel rise in wages has not been granted the same generous boost. A majority of Latino voters reported in a summer 2014 poll conducted by the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) that they had not seen improvement in their household finances since the recession, and an additional 50 percent reported they were worried about having enough money to pay their bills.

The White House acknowledged this disconnect, stating “In 2014, average real wages for production and nonsupervisory workers increased 0.8 percent after increasing 0.7 percent in 2013. Although not sufficient, these increases are a marked improvement from the 2000s, including the pre Great Recession years of 2001 to 2007, when real wage growth averaged 0.5 percent a year.”

In short, the economy is indeed headed in the right direction, but all workers have yet to see the full benefits of the rebounding system. Properly integrating and maximizing the earning potential for communities of color is necessary for the economy to serve all, and for continuing a robust path to recovery.

Huffington Post