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Joint Economic Committee Democrats Chairman - Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA)

Hispanic Workers Kept the U.S. Economy Moving During the Coronavirus Pandemic but Face Lower Wages and Poor Working Conditions

Key Points:
Hispanic Americans made up a large share of the essential workers that kept the economy moving and took care of patients during the coronavirus pandemic, despite being among the groups hardest hit by the pandemic.
In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, Hispanic Americans have returned to the workforce faster than non-Hispanic white Americans. Hispanic workers are poised to power America’s future economic growth and pay the taxes that sustain programs like Medicare and Social Security.
Hispanic workers, especially Hispanic women, face lower wages, poorer benefits and worse working conditions than non-Hispanic white workers.
The entire U.S. workforce, including Hispanic workers, would benefit from policies that build infrastructure, invest in the care economy, extend the tax credits for working families, strengthen unions and reform immigration laws to bring workers out of the shadow.

There are more than 62 million Hispanic Americans living in the Unites States and they serve an instrumental role in powering the U.S. economy. The total economic output of Hispanics is estimated to be well over $2 trillion, and growing rapidly.

Much of the growth in the economic output of Hispanic households is driven by the spending power and labor market engagement of Hispanic workers. Despite being hit hard by the pandemic and the ensuing economic contraction, Hispanic workers have been quick to lead the economic recovery by returning to work. 

The relative youth and high growth rate of the Hispanic population means that they will remain integral to future economic growth. Hispanic Americans alone account for over half of all the population growth in the U.S. over the last 10 years. Hispanic Americans are also helping diversify the labor force—nearly a third of Hispanics identify as having more than one race, and their ethnic origins are just as diverse—enriching the United States’ cultural capital.

Despite these important contributions, Hispanic workers disproportionately earn lower wages, suffer from poor working conditions and experience a lower quality of life. Hispanic workers are underrepresented in high-paying occupations and overrepresented in low-paying ones, which are also disproportionately subjected to wage theft and hazardous working conditions. Hispanic women are directly affected by this occupational segregation, and they are disproportionally harmed by the gender wage gap. Many of these disparities can be explained by the fact that Hispanic workers have less bargaining power at work than other workers. This means that the work of Hispanic workers ends up being more precarious and often does not include basic protections and benefits, like health insurance or retirement accounts.