Check out this full report "Latino Workers in the Ongoing Recession: 2007 to 2008" by Pew Research Center.
Dec 15, 2008
DENVER (Map, News) - Some 234,000 working-age Latinos who immigrated to the U.S. between 1990 and 1999 are no longer part of the American labor force, a new report says.
Those workers left the work force over the past year as the economy slid into recession, according to an analysis released Monday by the Washington, D.C.-based Pew Hispanic Center.
Rakesh Kocchar, who authored the report, said about 234,000 Latino working-age immigrants - those 16 or older - who arrived during those years are no longer part of the labor force, either because of deaths or departures. Although the report didn't track how many returned home, the data suggests many are doing so, Kocchar said.
"This is a closed group of people. They can't grow anymore," Kocchar said. "The only reason the size of this group can change is if some of them die or some of them go back. This drop is higher than a normal death rate would be."
Kocchar said the 234,000 is a 4.2 percent drop from the number Latino immigrants who came to the U.S. from 1990 to 1999.
About 7.2 million Latinos entered the U.S. between 1990 and March 2000, according to U.S. Census data.
The Pew Center report analyzed data from the Census and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It found that about 12.2 million foreign-born Latinos were active in the labor force in the third quarter of 2008, meaning they were employed or looking for work. That's a 1.1 percent decrease from the third quarter of 2007.
While the decline is small, Kocchar said what makes it significant is that it's the first such decrease since 2003, as the U.S. started climbing out of its 2001 recession.
"It seems like (Latinos) are in a time for a decision here, either to stay or to go back," said Kochhar.
Other report findings:
- The unemployment rate for all Latinos - foreign- and native-born - was 7.9 percent in the third quarter of 2008, up from 5.7 percent in the year-earlier period. The unemployment rate for the total U.S. work force was 6.1 percent, up from 4.7 percent.
- A decrease in Mexican immigrants active in the labor force is more apparent than for Latinos overall. Their numbers increased by 225,000 in 2008, compared to an increase of 404,000 in 2007.
- Latinos lost 156,000 construction jobs over the last year.
- Employed Latino immigrants saw their wages increase by 5.5 percent, possibly because immigrants in low-wage jobs are leaving the work force.
But despite Latinos' declining participation in the work force, the report said the "labor market data do not paint an unrelentingly negative picture for Latino immigrants." Kochhar noted the 6.4 unemployment rate for Latino immigrants was similar to that for all U.S. workers.
"It is more or less in line with what one would expect," Kochhar said. "The recession is affecting everyone."
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