Unemployment numbers in the Latino community have been historically low in recent years; however, the Coronavirus pandemic has reversed this positive trend. According to figures published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, after the economy shut down during the pandemic, about four million Hispanics in the country were left without jobs, that is, one out of every five Latinos has had to file for unemployment. Latinos have been the hardest hit by the nation’s coronavirus-related economic crisis. (https://aldianews.com/articles/)
CTN’s peer mentor, Rogelio Saenz, provided an overview of the job loss among Latinos in his monthly blog for the National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders. Compared to other groups in the country, he found that Latinos had the highest unemployment rate at 18.7 in May and sustained the highest percentage decline (20.2%) in jobs lost between February and April, translating to 5.7 million fewer Latinos working.
In May, the unemployment rate of Latino men was at 15.8%. However, the situation was much less favorable for Latinas with approximately one-fifth without a job, a slight dip from the 20.8% unemployment rate in April. Foreign-born Latino men had the lowest unemployment level. In part, this reflects the high concentration of Latino immigrants among workers on the front lines and employed in essential industries.
The Bureau of Labor statistics show among the industries most affected is the hotel and leisure industry with a loss of 7.7 million jobs; 2.5 million in education and health services, 2.1 in the retail sector, and around 975,000 jobs in construction. According to figures from the same department, by 2019, Latinos represented about 20% of the workforce in these industries. (https://aldianews.com/articles/)
The data also showed that the unemployment rate for teens between 16 and 19 years old was nearly 32% in April. (https://www.bls.gov/) Many of these teenage workers come from disadvantaged economic areas and help their parents or family with bills and other costs.
“It is clearly the case that the recovery of the U.S. economy will take a long time. Claims of things being better than in April are not very reassuring as job loss since February is still very steep,” stated Saenz in his blog. Latinos and other people of color are particularly falling behind Whites in making up the job loss sustained since February. The analysis also shows that Latinos face the highest levels of joblessness in areas that have been devastated by COVID-19 as well as those whose overall economies have been suffering greatly. Unfortunately, as public health experts predicted, as the country has widely opened up for business, there has been a significant surge of new COVID-19 cases in 22 states, including Arizona, Florida, and Texas. It is clear that additional help is needed to sustain the nation’s rank-and-file workers,” Saenz wrote.
(To read the entire blog, go to https://www.latinorebels.com/2020/06/25/updatelatinojobscovid/