Unemployment is higher; income is lower for Hispanics than non-Hispanic Whites

September 5, 2012

CONTACT: Sharon Kayne, Communications Director, NM Voices for Children, 505-244-9505

ALBUQUERQUE—The income and unemployment gap between Hispanics and non-Hispanic Whites had been closing in the three years leading up to the stock market crash, but those gains were all lost in the resulting recession.

A new report detailing the rise and fall of this gap between 2005 and 2010 points to one major reason: the construction industry bore the brunt of the lob losses when the housing bubble burst and Hispanics are over-represented in that industry. Thus, a higher percentage of Hispanics lost their jobs.

“When looking at this kind of data, one has to ask why Hispanics are over-represented in one job sector and under-represented in another,” said Gerry Bradley, report author and Research Director for New Mexico Voices for Children. “Much of it is due to the educational gap between Hispanics and non-Hispanic Whites, and that’s an issue the state needs to address more aggressively if we are to have a thriving workforce and economy.”

Population demographics also play a part in the disparities between Hispanics and non-Hispanic Whites. “The Hispanic population is much younger than the non-Hispanic White population. This means that a smaller percentage of the Hispanic population is old enough to be in the workforce,” Bradley said.

As advocates for children, the age distribution is of particular concern to NM Voices. “When we see economic disparities for parents, we’re also seeing opportunity gaps for a large percentage of New Mexico’s children,” said Veronica Garcia, Ed.D., NM Voices’ Executive Director. “Those gaps will mean that many of these kids will start school lacking the skills and supports they need in order to increase their chances for school success. One way to close the opportunity gap for children is to address the disparities their parents face in the workforce,” she added.

There are some bright spots in the report. “We saw a tremendous amount of growth in the percent of Hispanics employed in the professional, scientific, and management sector—although they are still terribly under-represented there. These are high-paying jobs with a great deal more stability than construction, so this is good news,” said Bradley. “Hispanics are also very well represented in the public administration sector. These are government jobs, and while they don’t usually pay as well as the professions, they do offer benefits like health insurance and paid sick leave. These kinds of supports are very important in giving a family some economic security,” he added.

The report is available online at: https://www.nmvoices.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Hispanics-and-Recession-rpt-8-2012.pdf


New Mexico Voices for Children is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization advocating for policies to improve the health and well-being of New Mexico’s children, families and communities. Our fiscal policy work is funded by grants from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the McCune Charitable Foundation, the WK Kellogg Foundation, and the Working Poor Families Project.
2340 Alamo SE, Suite 120, Albuquerque, NM 87106-3523; 505-244-9505 (p); www.nmvoices.org