By Alex Gonzalez
A new statistic by the Department of Labor shows that Latinos are coming back into the Labor Market in large numbers more so than other groups. The Labor Department figures show that of the 2.3 million jobs added to the economy last year, 1.4 million, or 60 percent, were filled by Latinos. The sectors where they gained a large share of the jobs included hotels, food services, healthcare and manufacturing. But, though this is good news for Latino immigrants–who lack the safety net of unemployment benefits but have found jobs in the service industries–the study shows that more Americans are becoming comfortable with hefty 98-weeks of unemployment benefits, and thus, find themselves relying more on the government for services.
If we take into consideration that in 2007-09, Latinos workers were hurt by the recession because by 2005 the housing bust has forced many of Latinos into construction sites. Most of these jobs were in California, Nevada, Arizona and Florida. Similarly, relying significantly on lower-wage jobs to fuel growth, Texas has drawn from a large, relatively cheap labor pool that included large numbers of legal and illegal immigrants. In fact, illegal immigrants have taken jobs in many of the industries central to the Texas’ economic boom, such as home construction, agriculture and the service industry. Illegal and legal immigrants make up about 20 percent of the state’s total workforce, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In fact, the Pew Hispanic Center estimates that 8 percent of Texas’ total workforce was made up of illegal immigrants as of 2008. But in state where the housing bubble burst, Hispanic lost many these of jobs.
When the recession hit, all of the jobs that went to Hispanics immigrants in the construction industry, felt by 60%, suggesting that unemployment among immigrant working in the housing bubble was widespread. A 2010 Congressional report found that the recession had hit especially hard in industries like construction and manufacturing, that employed a high percentage of Hispanics, and were in parts of the country with large Hispanic communities, like California, Nevada and Florida. “Hispanic unemployment was been driven by geography and sector”. However, this geography, and sector, were the same hit the most during the recession.
When the housing industry was booming, immigrant workers had a better shot at building a middle-class life. At the start of the recession in late 2007, the Hispanic unemployment rate was 6.3% nationwide and 6.4% in California, where more than 14 million of the nation’s 50.5 million Latinos live. As the economy worsened, the jobless rate for Hispanics hit a peak in November 2010 at 13.1% nationally and 14.7% in California. Since then, those rates have fallen to 10.5% and 13.8%, respectively.
Today, the construction industry remains weak, but other sectors in which Latinos have a relatively large share of jobs — hotels, food services, healthcare and manufacturing, for example — are seeing more robust job growth. There are other reasons, experts say, why Latinos are doing better than some other groups. For one thing, they might be more willing to take low-wage, temporary jobs. And they tend to be more mobile, willing to move from one county to another to get a job. Additionally, Hispanics are more likely to live in concentrated areas where housing values declined more sharply, contributing to further wealth reductions, The Pew says. Therefore, the new labor trend may suggest that those Latinos finding jobs are immigrants worker willing to take temporary and low-wages jobs. Essentially, these are the workers with no safety net of unemployment, such a as 98 weeks of benefits, or those immigrant that have made the transition from construction to service jobs.
According to study by the Labor Department, while Latinos make up only 15% of the country’s workforce, they have racked up half the employment gains posted since the economy began adding jobs in early 2010. They are taking jobs in the service industries until the job picture improves and the housing market rebounds. Moreover, some of the decline in Latino unemployment reflects the fact that many discouraged workers have stopped looking for jobs. As with other temporary workers, some Latinos may find that short-term jobs are a path to full-time work. But for many others, low-wage, temporary jobs do not offer much opportunity for advancement.
Also, this new labor trend wasn’t occurring simply because Latinos have a large percentage of younger workers, but also because many Latinos loss assets. According to Pew Center, household wealth of Latinos, on average, fell more sharply than for whites or blacks from 2005 to 2009, and the ethnic group’s poverty rate from 2006 to 2010 increased more than for any other group. As result, that people who loss assets and have no unemployment benefits—immigrants with no safety net–are the ones looking for any jobs available. Conversely, this trend also show that many Americans have become comfortable with hefty unemployment benefits and have stopped looking for jobs. And as Sen. Paul Ryan argues, these dependency polices are only creating a culture of dependency.
EXPANDING CULTURE OF DEPENDENCY
According the Paul Ryan’s plan Road Map to Prosperity, it is vital that workers move away from a culture of government dependency because the demographic realignment is not a temporary phenomenon. It is associated solely with the retirement of the baby boomers, and it is more than a problem just for Social Security or Federal Government spending: it poses a challenge to the economy to generate sufficient resources to support the income and health needs of a growing population of retirees. Long-term economic growth depends on two factors: employment growth and productivity growth.
But employment growth is tied to an expanding labor force, which under current projections is expected to decline. The combination of demographic and benefit patterns will drive total Social Security spending to unprecedented levels:
Therefore , while the unemployment number for Latinos is improving because they are willing to take low-wages jobs, lost wealth, and are younger than other groups, the untold fact is that with this US Labor statistic numbers is that more Americans are becoming dependent on the government for a paycheck; thus, they are not willing to take temporary jobs. But too many Americans are dependent on government for jobs, and are voting Democrat so as to keep extending unemployment benefits — the timeframe is now up to 92 weeks, or almost two years. So what incentive is there for the unemployed to aggressively pursue a job when they know they can wait and receive a check for two years? . And, if Paul Ryan is correct, and this labor trend and sense of entitlements continues, within a generation, we won’t be able to make our federal obligation on entitlements, or the military.
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