As White Baby Boomers Retire, Fast Growing Latin American Workforce Will Fill The Gaps

New study reveals that the job market and the economy in general will become increasingly anchored by a young and vibrant population of Latino workers – a finding that has implications for everything from employer investment decisions to diversification local economic to the operation of critical social security net programs.

According to the US Latino GDP Report 2021, Latinos have contributed nearly three-quarters of all of the workforce expansion that has taken place since the Great Recession. The report was unveiled at the week’s third annual ATTITUDE conference, showcasing the contributions of Latin Americans to the economy and society.

“Considering the retirement of the baby boomers and the fact that the baby boomers are much more predominantly white, Latinos will certainly play a bigger role in the economy – I don’t think there is any doubt about that. subject – but their role may change over time, “said Harry Holzer, professor of public policy at Georgetown University.

The young age of the Latin American population, its high participation in the labor market and the rapid increase in education make it a crucial segment of the labor market on which employers will increasingly rely, said Rodrigo. Dominguez-Villegas, research director for the Latino Policy & Politics Initiative. at the University of California, Los Angeles.

“The workforce in the United States is going through a small transformation. The non-Latino portion of the workforce is aging and withdrawing from the labor market, ”he said. In 2019, the median age of Latinos in the United States was just under 29, compared to almost 41 for non-Latinos. Their younger demographic footprint has implications for their contributions to the workforce as well as to eligibility programs.

“Latino workers are going to play a critical role in sustaining the workforce that supports all of these retiring people,” said Dominguez-Villegas.

Just under one in five people currently living in the United States identify as Hispanic or Latino, but they represent a rapidly growing demographic. Just over half of the population growth in the United States measured by the 2020 census was due to a growing population of Hispanic or Latino residents, and the Latin American population in the United States grew by nearly 25% in the past. over the past decade.

While the overall labor force participation rate struggled to break out of a narrow band around 61.7%, the labor force participation rate for Hispanic and Latino Americans was 65.6% in August, according to the BLS data. In 2019, the labor force participation of Latinos was 68.2% in 2019, 5.5 percentage points higher than the rate of non-Latinos.

Hispanic unemployment is currently higher than the overall rate, at 6.4% versus 5.2% for the general population – although 6.4% is a marked improvement from the unemployment rate of 10.5 % of this group one year earlier.

Falling jobs in the service sector, especially in leisure and hospitality, hit Latinos hard when the pandemic hit, with that population’s unemployment rate reaching 18.9% in April 2020, higher than any other ethnic group.

The US Latino GDP report finds that education and health care, professional and business services, and finance and real estate are the economic sectors in which Latinos respectively contribute the most to the dollar values ​​of economic output. American. “It really shows that Latino GDP is much more diverse and larger than people would expect,” Dominguez-Villegas said.

Sectors where Latinos are currently most represented in the workforce include agriculture, construction, and catering. But that is changing as the current generation of new immigrants and first generation Americans take root and invest in homes, businesses, and higher education.

“We are seeing a lot of young people entering university and graduating, which will change the sectoral distribution of the Latin American workforce,” said Dominguez-Villegas.

The US Latino GDP Report said that between 2010 and 2019, the number of Latinos who obtained a bachelor’s degree grew at a rate almost three times that of non-Latinos. “Their level of education will increase and the role they play in the economy will change. And as they get more education, they become more mobile, ”Holzer said. “You will see some growth in professional management and technical jobs,” as well as higher paying and higher status jobs in fields where many are now in entry-level positions, he said.

As important as Latinos are to the nation’s worker base, they will become even more critical in the future, Dominguez-Villegas said, noting that the eligibility programs that are the foundation of retirees’ physical and financial health. ‘exhaust.

“Medicare and social security are under pressure,” he said. “The solvency of these two programs depends directly on the employee contributions of a current and future predominantly Latin American workforce. Latino workers are going to be essential in sustaining the workforce that supports all of these retiring people. “

About Mark A. Tomlin

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