According to a recent New York Times article, “Hispanic women have emerged as the biggest job market winners in an economy that has now grown for 121 straight months.” With the changing demographics of Americas population mixed with shift in generational norms, Hispanic women are benefiting greatly from a new American economy. “Employment rates for Hispanic women between 25 and 54, prime working years, have jumped by 2.2 percentage points since mid-2007, the eve of the Great Recession. That’s the most of any prime-age working group. Black women came in second, adding 1.6 percentage points.”
The cause for such an increase can be attributed to large hiring increases in fields that “may favor women over men— health services, food and leisure jobs, and education have all been hiring aggressively and are all female-dominated — and women may be working more to patch up household earnings as men struggle to find their footing.”
In addition to female led fields, “Hispanic women have posted a major fertility decline over the past decade and they have steadily raised college attainment.” The pickup for Hispanic women began in 2012 and picked up around 2014 when “Hispanic women between 25 and 34 began pouring into jobs, contributing substantially to the group’s overall progress. They now work at their highest rates on record.”
Despite the huge jump for Hispanic women, some policymakers are concerned that this is a temporary measure. “Policymakers sometimes point out that some minorities suffer from a last-hired, first-fired phenomenon. Black women saw their employment rate drop 9.4 percentage points from its peak to its trough in the last crisis. Hispanic women had a similar but more muted response, losing about 6 percentage points.”
Despite this, in the short term, this is great news. As Hispanic Americans become a larger contributing population to the nation, data such as employment and education will heavily effect Americas positioning more and more. In a country where Hispanic employment is growing it is still necessary to point out that, in the end, the biggest winners over the past few years are the “richest 1 percent of earners — who are heavily white and male.” This group “notched outsize earnings throughout the expansion and recovery. The top 1 percent also received nearly 17 percent of the total first-year benefit from the Trump administration’s $1.5 trillion tax cut, according to the Tax Policy Center.”
It is very important to understand this above all else as our economy continues to disproportionately benefit the wealthy. As that number becomes smaller and more racially contingent, the future issues of America could fall back to historical issues unless opportunities are expanded for more people.