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Latino Daily News

Friday April 1, 2011

The Hispanic Labor Force in the Recovery

The Hispanic Labor Force in the Recovery

Photo: Hispanic Labor

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At nearly 23 million, people of Hispanic or Latino ethnicity represented 15 percent of the United States’ labor force in 2010. By 2018, Hispanics are expected to comprise 18 percent of the labor force.

In 2010, 59 percent of Hispanics aged 16 and over were employed and just under 1 in 5 of those employed were working part-time. Forty-one (41) percent of all employed Hispanics in 2010 were women, compared to 46 percent among employed whites.1 Women represent a smaller share of the Hispanic labor force both because of the high labor force participation of Hispanic men and the lower labor force participation rate of Hispanic women compared to whites.

Employed Hispanics are much less likely to have a college degree than are either whites or blacks.2 Approximately one in six employed Hispanics aged 25 and over have completed a bachelor’s degree, less than half the proportion among employed whites. This gap in the share of employed Hispanics and whites who are college graduates has widened over the past decade. Between 2000 and 2010, the gap between employed whites with a college education and employed Hispanics with a college education grew from 17.6 percentage points to 19.2 percentage points.

Hispanics are more likely than either whites or blacks to be employed in the private sector, with more than 8 in 10 employed Hispanics working in the private sector, not including the unincorporated self-employed. Conversely, Hispanics are less likely to work for government than are either whites or blacks. Self-employment is a growing alternative to private sector employment among Hispanics. In 2010, 6.3 percent of Hispanics were self-employed. According to the most recent Census Bureau Survey of Business Owners (2007), Hispanic-owned businesses are the fastest growing small business sector, expanding at nearly twice the rate of the national average between 2002 and 2007.

Half of Hispanics working full-time earned $535 or more per week in 2010. This median weekly wage was only 70 percent of that earned by whites. This gap in earning has been largely stable over the recession and recovery period.

The unemployment rate averaged 12.5 percent among Hispanics in 2010. The most recent unemployment report in February 2011 shows that the economic situation is improving for all Americans, including Hispanics, who have seen their unemployment rate decline to 11.6 percent. In addition, unemployed Hispanics experience a shorter duration of unemployment and are less likely to join the ranks of the long-term unemployed than are either their white or black counterparts. However, the higher rate of unemployment among all Hispanics means that a greater share of Hispanics will experience long-term unemployment than will whites.

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