WASHINGTON, D.C. — To commemorate National Hispanic Heritage Month, which begins today and runs through October 15, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), led by Congressman Raul Ruiz, M.D. (D-CA), and the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee (JEC), led by Congressman Don Beyer (D-VA), released a new report that examines the contributions of Hispanic workers to the U.S. economy. Despite being among those most affected by the health and economic effects of the coronavirus and pervasive structural barriers to full economic participation, Hispanic workers are helping to drive the ongoing economic recovery and are poised to serve as catalysts of future economic growth.
The total economic contribution of Hispanics to the U.S. economy is estimated to be well over $2 trillion, and it’s 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, and the relative youth and high growth rate of the Hispanic population means they will remain integral to future economic growth.
But Hispanic workers also face challenges that suppress earnings, erode working conditions and reduce quality of life. For example, Hispanic workers are overrepresented in low-wage occupations that are also often characterized by poor working conditions. During the worst of the coronavirus pandemic, Hispanic Americans were widely overrepresented among essential workers, who were on the front lines keeping the nation’s food supply flowing and caring for the sick.
Advancing broad-based economic growth requires addressing the structural barriers that hold back Hispanic workers. Investing in decaying infrastructure will improve access to good-paying jobs, and Hispanic workers and children will benefit from universal preschool and extending the expanded Child Tax Credit, which alleviate household and child poverty. Immigration reform will boost economic growth, generate new jobs and address barriers to opportunity. Raising the federal minimum wage and strengthening unions will reduce earnings disparities and improve working conditions for Hispanic workers, narrowing the racial and gender pay gaps and promoting shared prosperity.
Congressman Beyer, JEC Chair:
“This Hispanic Heritage Month, we honor the powerful contributions of Hispanic Americans to this nation. Hispanic workers, families and businesses are integral to our society and our economy.
“During the darkest days of the pandemic and economic crisis, many Hispanic workers put their own lives and the lives of their families at risk to carry out the essential work and care that was needed to keep the country going. And despite suffering disproportionate job losses during the recession, Hispanic workers, who are returning to work in higher numbers than other workers, are helping to fuel the economic recovery.
"If we are to build back better as a nation, our economic policies must recognize the outsized role Hispanic Americans have played and continue to play in making the United States one of the most prosperous nations in the world. Our economy and its future growth, the promise of the American Dream, depend on it.”
Congressman Dr. Ruiz, CHC Chair:
"Hispanic families have carried the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic while courageously stepping up, helping the U.S., and risking their lives as essential workers on the frontlines to keep us safe, healthy, and fed.
“The report by the Joint Economic Committee under Chair Don Beyer’s leadership clearly shows America’s Hispanic workforce is driving economic growth today and will continue to do so for years to come. By passing immigration reform, reducing health disparities, and strengthening worker protections, we will support Hispanic workers and America’s growth and prosperity."