The purpose of this paper is to examine the potential impact of the current economic downturn on Hispanic workers and families, and analyze how prepared Hispanics are for the economic recession. The paper is divided into four sections: The first section briefly explores the progress made by Hispanics during the economic boom of the 1990s. The second section uses the experience of Hispanics in past economic downturns to predict how they will fare in the current economic slowdown. The third section analyzes how well prepared Hispanic workers are for the economic slowdown. The final section draws conclusions based on the first three sections.
The long-term effects of the recession will likely depress employment and incomes in Hispanic communities at least through the end of 2004, and judging from historical experience that time span will be longer than for any other major population group. Even if predictions of a turnaround later this summer prove valid, pocketbook issues will vex Latinos for several years after the national economy recovers. Second-generation Latinos--U.S.-born children of an immigrant parent-- are now experiencing high job losses. In recent recessions Hispanic unemployment has fallen hardest on low-skilled immigrants. This time, young people who are the products of U.S. schools are experiencing the highest unemployment rates among Latinos. Many work in skilled occupations, including managers, technicians and professionals, and many are in the early years of household formation. Prolonged joblessness could prove a historic setback for them, their communities and the nation.
In the United States today people with more education tend to live longer and healthier lives, remain married longer and earn more money. Latinos are the least-well educated segment of the American population.
The “New Economy” of the past decade lifted the prospects of all Hispanics. Still, on average Hispanics lagged behind non-Hispanic whites, mainly due to large-scale immigration and poor levels of education.