Are Hispanics Making Economic Progress?

Tiempo host Joe Torres and Carola Bracco

Carola Bracco Latin Business Today advisory board member discusses Hispanic progress on ABC's Tiempo

 

White House Report on the economic progress of the Hispanic community during the Obama Administration.

At more than 55 million strong, Hispanics comprise the fastest‐growing segment of the U.S. population and are the youngest major racial or ethnic group in the United States. Throughout his presidency, President Obama has worked to expand economic opportunities for all Americans, including the Hispanic community, by strengthening the economy, ensuring access to affordable health care, and investing more in education.

Today, as Hispanic Heritage Month comes to a close, the White House Council of Economic Advisers is releasing a new issue brief examining the economic progress of the Hispanic community during the Obama Administration. Some of the key findings include:

·         In 2015, Hispanic Americans saw the fastest income growth of any major racial or ethnic group, the largest decline in the poverty rate, and substantial gains in insurance coverage. In total, incomes for Hispanic Americans have risen 7.4 percent in real terms since 2009.

·         The unemployment rate for Hispanic Americans has been cut by more than half from its Great Recession peak and is now below its average level before the recession.

·         As the major provisions of the Affordable Care Act have been implemented, the uninsured rate has fallen 11.3 percentage points for Hispanic Americans from ages 18 to 64, a larger decline than for the nation as a whole, corresponding to 4 million people gaining insurance coverage.

·         Hispanic Americans have seen a rapid increase in educational attainment, with the high school graduation rate and Bachelor’s degree attainment each rising by 5 percentage points. In 2016, 3.4 million Hispanic students are enrolled in college—800,000 more than in 2009, an increase of more than 30 percent.

This segment of Tiempo will air on ABCTV NY,  Sunday, October 23rd at 11:00 EST

Below please find the full US report:

DURING THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION

At more than 55 million strong, Hispanics comprise the fastest‐growing segment of the U.S. population and are the youngest major racial or ethnic group in the United States. Throughout his presidency, President Obama has worked to expand economic opportunities for all Americans, including the Hispanic community, by strengthening the economy, ensuring access to affordable health care, and investing more in education.

In the final months of 2008, just before the President took office, the economy was in the midst of the worst recession since the Great Depression, losing 800,000 jobs per month and shrinking at an annual rate of over 8 percent. Many economic indicators, from household wealth to the stock market, were falling faster than they had during the Great Depression.

Today, thanks to the resilience of the American people and the bold actions of the President and other policymakers, the U.S. economy has experienced a historic turnaround. Businesses have created over 15 million jobs since early 2010, and the economy has seen the longest streak of total job growth on record. As the recovery continues to strengthen, wage growth has accelerated for middle‐class families, including Hispanic families. In 2015, the typical household saw its income rise $2,800, or 5.2 percent, the fastest rate on record, and the poverty rate fell by the largest amount since the 1960s.

Hispanic Americans have seen particularly strong economic gains over the past eight years. In 2015, Hispanic Americans saw the fastest income growth of any major racial or ethnic group, the largest decline in the poverty rate, and substantial gains in insurance coverage. The unemployment rate for Hispanic Americans has been cut by more than half from its Great Recession peak and is now below its average level before the recession. As the major provisions of the Affordable Care Act have been implemented, the uninsured rate has declined by more for Hispanic Americans than for the nation as a whole. Lastly, Hispanic Americans have seen a sharp increase in educational attainment, with the high school graduation rate and Bachelor’s degree attainment each rising by 5 percentage points.

Many of the President’s policies, along with the determination and hard work of the Hispanic community, have contributed to these substantial improvements in economic outcomes. For example, in the depths of the recession, the President acted decisively to pass the Recovery Act and nearly a dozen other measures to reinvest in our economy, rescue the auto industry, support struggling homeowners, and stabilize the financial system. These actions helped quickly shift the economy’s trajectory and lay the groundwork for stable, sustainable, and broad‐based economic growth. The Affordable Care Act has also ensured that all Americans can access affordable health care coverage, with 20 million Americans gaining coverage and the price of health care rising at its slowest rate in 50 years. Finally, the President has increased investments in education at all levels, from expanding access to high‐quality pre‐K to supporting higher standards in K‐12 classrooms to making historic investments in the affordability of and access to higher education.

More work remains to continue strengthening economic growth and ensuring that all Americans can share in that growth, including addressing the continued gaps that Hispanic Americans face in employment and opportunity. That is why the President will continue to take steps to strengthen economic growth and boost living standards by promoting higher wages; boosting competition across the economy; supporting innovation; and calling on Congress toincrease investments in infrastructure, pass the high‐standards Trans‐Pacific Partnership, and expand the Earned Income Tax Credit for workers without dependent children.

Below, we examine the progress that Hispanic Americans have made across key economic outcomes during the Obama Administration, including employment, income, and poverty; health care; and education.

Employment and Income

Unemployment is now lower for Hispanic Americans than before the recession

At 6.4 percent as of September 2016, the Hispanic unemployment rate has been cut by more than half from its Great Recession peak. It has fallen 6.6 percentage points since peaking at 13.0 percent in August 2009. The unemployment rate today is below its pre‐recession average of 6.5 percent (its average rate in the last expansion, from December 2001 to December 2007), but remains higher than the rate for the United States as a whole, indicating that more work remains.

The recovery in unemployment holds for both Hispanic women and men. The unemployment rate for Hispanic women is 6.4 percent, down 5.7 percentage points from its peak in November 2010. The unemployment rate for Hispanic men is 5.4 percent, down 7.4 percentage points since its peak in August 2009. 

Hispanic Americans participate in the labor force at higher rates

The labor force participation rate, or the share of the population either working or actively looking for work, is a key contributor to economic growth and an important component of the well‐being of families. At 80.4 percent, the Hispanic male labor force participation rate is 8.6 percentage points higher than the comparable participation rate for all men. At 58.9 percent, the labor force participation rate among Hispanic women is slightly above the participation rate for all women of 58.4 percent. 

Next- Recent income gains for Hispanic households have been strong

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About the author

Carola Bracco

Carola Otero Bracco is the Executive Director of Neighbors Link Northern Westchester and CEO of Neighbors Link Network.  A first generation American born of immigrant parents from Bolivia, Carola earned a Masters in Business Administration from Duke University.  Before assuming her post with Neighbors Link in April of 2004, she had 12 years experience in financial management with General Electric Corporation, Ford Motor Company and Time Warner, Inc.  Carola has a passion for motivating constituent families and advocating for personal growth through education and economic development.

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