More than five years later, the Great Recession continues to haunt Hispanic families.
While its great to see overall unemployment rates decreasing across the nation, clearly much more needs to be done to increase Latino employment and economic opportunities, Hispanic Federation President Jose Calderon told VOXXI.
The U.S. Department of Labors recent unemployment rates for July show Latinos at 7.8 percent, which is significantly higher than the national figure of 6.2 percent (down from 7.3 percent in July 2013).
The Department of Labor Secretary Thomas Perez said in a statement: The sustained progress and continued momentum make me optimistic. However, many Americans, despite their best efforts, are still struggling to climb out of the hole created by the Great Recession.
As our economy continues on its positive trajectory, we should use the momentum to enable more people to access ladders of opportunity.
Agreeing the effect of the Great Recession is still being felt in the Hispanic community is the Latino Decisions and the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), which said, Even though they are the fastest-growing segment of the American workforce, Hispanics still struggle with a number of economic issues related to poverty, unemployment and housing.
NCLR added that 25.3 million Latinos both employed and unemployed are in the civilian labor force, with 23.3 million over the age of 16 currently employed in a part-time or full-time fashion.
Still, that leaves roughly 2 million Latinos unemployed. Furthermore, while the overall unemployment rate for Latinos is at 7.8 percent, Hispanic men age 20 and older are faring better at 6 percent (down from 6.4 percent in June).
Career advancement an issue
As for Latinas, the news isnt so good with woman 20 and older experiencing an increase in the unemployment rate from 7.2 percent in June to 7.7 percent last month.
Not surprisingly, a recent NCLR/Latino Decisions poll shows 78 percent of Latinos are concerned about the lack of career advancement in the current economy with half acknowledging difficulty paying their bills and 53 percent worried about a family member being unemployed. Also, the majority of Hispanics favored an increase to the minimum wage.
Naturally, decreasing the Hispanic unemployment rate is key to Calderon. The Hispanic Federation, which provides grants to Latino non-profit agencies serving members of the community, advocates nationally on issues ranging from education, health and immigration to economic empowerment, civic engagement and the environment.
Despite Latino nonprofits working hard to meet the growing educational and training needs of the community, more focus is required on funding schools and workforce development programs while investing in infrastructure, health care, the environment and other means to create jobs during these tough times, said Calderon.