Hispanic Businesses the Food IndustryEmployment
More than 9.5 million people work in the restaurant industry in the U.S., according to the National Restaurant Association, of which 22% are Hispanic. The growth of the Hispanic population in the country has led to a greater demand for these products and has increased the general interest in local and ethnic foods.
The US Government reports that, in 2010, Food Manufacturing (NAICS 311) employed 1.4 million workers in 28,500 establishments with average weekly wages of $780. Of these workers, 30% were Hispanics (up from 24% in 2000), 15% were Black, 5% were Asians and the remaining 50% were non-Hispanic whites.
The EEOC, which reports race and ethnicity for various types of workers, including managers, professionals and laborers, showed that among food manufacturing workers classified as “laborers,” Hispanics represented 43% of the total. Blacks were at 21% and Asians at 6%.
While the Hispanic employment share has varied a lot, the years between 2000 and 2005 saw huge raises in Hispanic food-industry employment, marked by sharp declines from 2005 to 2010possibly due to increased government investigations into illegal employment practicesonly to rise again from 2010 on.
In 2010, Hispanic employment in the animal-slaughtering industry was 38% while among animal-slaughtering laborers it was 48%.
The following chart shows this evolution:
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Looking at the most important food industry segments, 26% of total employment is Hispanic. However, this employment is heavily segmented, with Hispanics being over-represented in the lower-paying jobs and very under-represented in the higher-paying senior management levels.
A summary of five key segments joining over 45,000 establishments shows us that:
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- Hispanics account for only 7.4% of senior level jobs and 7.7% of all professional jobs.
- They represent 30% of all operatives, 41% of all laborers and 26% of all service workers.
The following chart expands on this on an individual segment basis:
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Hispanic Businesses and the Food IndustryAnecdotal Employment Evidence
There are other areas we have not touched upon, such as supermarket and food retail, transportation, food preparation and equipment manufacturing for the food industry. Of those, supermarkets and transportation are probably the largest segments.
Anecdotally, every city with any Hispanic population is filled with markets of every shape and size selling all sorts of Latin foods. Many of these marketsbodegas, changarros, colmadosare small mom-and-pop businesses with only a handful of employees. Collectively, however, they probably add up to hundreds of thousands of employees.
Food-related transportation and distribution is also difficult to pinpoint. One obstacle to getting the whole picture here is that transportation companies do not register as exclusively food industry or similar. Yet, even on an anecdotal basis, there must be thousands of bodegas, mercados, colmados, tianguis and other retail outlets that must also be serviced by thousands of trucks, so that the importance of the food industry in the transportation and distribution sectors might be understated by just these numbers.
Hispanic Businesses and the Food Industrythe Overall Picture
Based on the numbers and other statistics cited above, its clear that there are plenty of opportunities for Hispanic entrepreneurs to make inroads into the food industry. In part two of this series, well look at food-industry growth opportunities and how Hispanic businesses can break into them.
Some other articles by Marcelo: