Multi-American | How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Why are Latino workers benefiting faster from the economic recovery than others?

Federal labor statistics have shown that as the economy begins to turn around slowly, those benefiting from the biggest job gains have been Latinos. Why is this so?

The Atlantic has a good analysis that counts immigration and occupation, both factors in why the numbers are the way they are. It's not all great news: Many new jobs being created are not well-paid, and Latinos (immigrants in particular) tend to take them. Some highlights from the piece:


According the BLS household survey, since January 2008, the Hispanic labor force has grown by 2.4 million. But the number of employed Latinos has grown by 1.2 million. So, although lots of Latinos have found work, a nearly equal number have showed up and not found work. It's important to point out that immigration is slowing: the U.S. population grew at its lowest rate in 70 years in 2011. But since immigrants are more mobile than native families, they're perhaps more likely to settle somewhere with greater job opportunities, unlike families who are stuck in Sun Belt areas with high unemployment and falling housing prices.


The sectors where Latinos have greater-than-average employment...also tend to be among the fastest-growing sectors...Health care, hospitality, retail, food manufacturing, and mining were among the top six sectors for jobs added in 2011. A part of this story is pay. As Steven Greenhouse reported, "73 percent of the jobs added since the recession ended had been in lower-wage occupations, like cashier, stocking clerk or food preparation worker," which are more likely to be held by Hispanics.

Finally, it's not just where they're working. It's where they're not working. As a group, Hispanics have low employment in local, state, and federal governments, which lost about 300,000 jobs in 2011, the vast majority of net job losses last year.

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